The current Mesa Police K-9 Unit was formed in January 1989. At that time there were three Police Service Dog (PSD) handlers, each with a Police dog. All three PSD's were trained as dual-purpose dogs. They were trained to locate people and also trained as narcotic detection dogs. PSD handlers are full-time sworn officers of the Mesa Police Department.
Today there are eight K-9 handlers and 10 Police Service Dogs working within the Mesa Police Department. There are four patrol dogs, four detection dogs and four dual-purpose dogs. The patrol dogs and dual-purpose dogs are trained to locate people. Three of the dual-purpose dogs are also trained to locate narcotics, while the other is trained to locate explosives. All of the dogs are sociable.
The safety of the public and other police officers is the primary concern of the members of the K-9 Unit. The dogs have a keen sense of smell that allows them to locate hiding suspects easier, safer and usually much quicker than officers searching by themselves. The dogs are used to search open areas, buildings, and commercial yards for suspects. The psychological effect of having a dog present in a tense situation proves beneficial to all. Countless times the dogs' presence has de-escalated violent scenes without any physical force having to be used.
Hundreds of pounds of illegal drugs are taken off the streets of Mesa each year as a result of using the narcotics detection dogs. The bomb detection dog is an extreme asset to the citizens of Mesa. Numerous bomb searches are conducted at our schools and businesses each year after bomb threats are received.
Each Police Service Dog handler takes their police car and dog/s home with them each day. The K-9 Unit provides seven-day a week coverage and is subject to call-out at any time when they are off duty.