Clarksville Police K9 Unit Largest In Department History - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Clarksville Police K9 Unit Largest In Department History

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By Adam Ghassemi

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – On a cold fall day, a few K9 unit officers can transform a tow yard full of vehicles into a classroom.

"Packed in with some marijuana and the other box contains cocaine," said Sgt. David O'Dell with the Clarksville Police K9 Unit. "It's two of the orders that the dogs are trained to locate."

What's hidden in the cars should trigger training both in canine and handler.

"If they detect the odor of a narcotic they've been trained to indicate on they'll alert," O'Dell said. "They'll either scratch at the door or they'll sit."

Officer Kennrick Harris and "Koda", a two-year-old Malinois, just finished 6 weeks of school. They hit the streets Wednesday. Training for Koda as well as "Leonieas", another new K9 officer, costs $7,000. Add in their handlers and the bill quickly nears $30,000.

They make up six crews that need monthly training. Clarksville Police say six crews will allow them to have at least one dog on patrol with a handler 20 hours out of every day.

In one year, one crew can go out on 1,200 cases.

"There's a lot of court cases that have been coming out over the last couple of years that have said the reliability of a dog is based on its training," O'Dell went on to say.

For Koda, it's a game. Smell one of a handful of narcotics and signal. If he's right he gets a drug-scented "toy" hidden on Harris' back.

"It's just a game for him. He's looking for his toy that I have," Harris said who has to make sure his new partner earns the reward.

"If he knows that we're handing it to him most likely he's just going to find a spot and expect us to hand it to them easily," Harris said.

The dogs are officers, not pets who quickly become lifelong crime fighting partners.

"I think a lot of people are going to have a lot to watch out for," Harris said.


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