In 1959, the Alexandria Police Department was authorized to inaugurate a canine corps, the first in the metropolitan area. Since that time, the police department has been committed to the canine program in order to provide the best possible service for the citizens of Alexandria. The ability of dogs to smell things that people cannot make them a valuable police tool and provide the ability to find suspects in hiding, track suspects who have fled on foot, and recover evidence. They are also used to find hidden narcotics and explosives.
Each officer is required to participate in a rigorous selection process in order to become a member of the unit. Once selected, the officer and his assigned dog are required to attend a 14-week basic patrol dog school where they work on obedience, agility, scent work, and criminal apprehension. At the end of the 14 weeks, each team is tested and certified by judges from the United States Police Canine Association. After completion of the basic patrol school, they may also attend an 8-week drug dog school or a 12-week bomb dog school.
Members of the unit are required to train regularly in order to maintain the team's proficiency. When not at work, the police canine spends the time at home with the handler and their family. Officers are responsible for the care of their assigned partner both on and off duty.
The K-9 Unit is an integral part of Field Operations Bureau (FOB) and work side-by-side with Patrol Officers, Community Policing Officers and the Traffic Safety Section to provide services to the community 24/7 and 365 days a year. The K-9 Unit is assigned to the Community Operations Section. The K-9 Teams are also an important resources for detectives and investigators assigned to the Investigations Bureau and APD's Special Operations Team. The K-9 Teams provide demos for the Police Department's Community and Youth Academy's, the Concerns of Police Survivors picnic during police week, and other various community organizations.
If you have further questions about the K-9 Unit please feel free to contact the supervisor of the unit, Sergeant Nick Lion, firstname.lastname@example.org and 703.746.6841.