Kilo is currently working a regular 12-hour patrol shift from about 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and is always with his handler Officer Dan Friedman
Belmont’s newest police officer made his debut arrest after just six weeks on the job during a daring chase that helped San Mateo police track down a suspected burglar.
But this talented officer won’t be seen driving a patrol car or holding a weapon; his strengths are in his nose.
Kilo is Belmont’s 2-year-old German shepherd who helped apprehend Travell Council, 20, a suspect in a string of vehicle burglaries who allegedly assaulted a San Mateo police officer and fled on Christmas Eve, according to Belmont police Capt. Pat Halleran.
San Mateo police set a perimeter after Council fled on foot then called in Belmont’s K-9. Kilo was able to track the smell to a ladder that led to the roof of a business on the 200 block of Baldwin Avenue where police found Council hiding, Halleran said.
“[San Mateo police chased Council] for several blocks and then lost him. They might have found him if they kept searching, but the dog picked up the scent right away and tracked him to the backyard to the base of a ladder,” Halleran said.
Canines aren’t just used for apprehending suspects, they can also help find those who are missing, evidence a person might discard and drugs, Halleran said.
“We use [dogs] primarily for their ability to smell. They’re ability to smell is about 7,000 times stronger than ours,” Halleran said.
Police canines typically spend about six weeks undergoing extensive training and Kilo will head back to school sometime in April to learn how to sniff out narcotics, Halleran said.
“They can be used for finding not only suspects, but lost people and evidence. Then after he goes to narcotics school, he’ll hopefully be finding narcotics for us too,” Halleran said.
As a professional, Kilo’s upfront cost was about $8,000. However, throughout a dog’s seven- to eight-year career, the department pays for food, veterinary costs and further training, Halleran said. The dog is considered city property yet, when it’s time for him to retire, the city depreciates his value to a dollar and sells him to his human counterpart, Halleran said.
Kilo is currently working a regular 12-hour patrol shift from about 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and is always with his handler Officer Dan Friedman, Halleran said. Police officers go through an extensive review to be partnered with a police canine and are equipped with a special patrol car, Halleran said. Friedman spent some time with the department’s previous dog Nitro before it retired in 2012 and will make an excellent partner for Kilo, Halleran said.
Police canines contribute to the safety of officers and he too had his very own canine partner between the mid-’80s and early ’90s, Halleran said.
“I know that there were numerous fights that I didn’t get involved in just because I had the dog; because there are people who don’t want to mess with the dog. I’ve had armed people surrender to me because I came with the dog,” Halleran said.
Police canines are intimidating while they’re on the job; but they’re not inherently vicious, they’re highly trained and fit in well with handlers’ families, Halleran said.
“I had [my dog] for seven years, it was the best job I ever had in police work,” Halleran said. “It’s great being able to have a partner like that every day you go to work. It’s a lot of work because they’re with you all the time, but it’s very rewarding.”
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