Anchorage Police Department’s K-9 Unit

About the Anchorage Police K-9 Unit

The mission of the Anchorage Police Department Canine Unit is to train, develop and deploy police service dog teams to support the various operational sections of the Department in achieving the police mission in the safest and most efficient manner possible.

The Canine Unit has been able to achieve a high level of performance due to the financial support of Dollars for Dogs, Inc., the leadership provided by the Anchorage Police Department commanders, and the commitment of all the handlers.

APD Canine provides assistance to both law enforcement and non–law enforcement agencies, for example FBI, JBER (formally known as Ft Rich, EAFB), Kulis Air National Guard and the State of Alaska Dept of Corrections Probation Officers.   The Anchorage School District will ask for a police canine to check schools for any guns or ammunition hidden in lockers or around the school.

Selection & Training

It’s not unusual for a newly purchased canine to have already been given a name by the breeder or kennel. However when the dog is selected for the canine unit, it is renamed. The group or organizations providing the funds to purchase a dog are given the opportunity to choose a new name for the canine.

APD uses the Bark and Detain method as opposed to the Find and Bite used by other law enforcement agencies. Bark and Detain is an apprehension technique where the canine provides a clear indication (bark) while guarding (detain) a passive (still) person. This technique requires more training for the handler and canine, and performance at a higher skill level.

Additionally, 40 hours are spent in quarterly training, and once a year the unit will train as a group. This is all in addition to the daily maintenance training done to reinforce learned behaviors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What breeds of dogs are used as APD K9s?

We use Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds and Dutch Shepherds.

Where did the APD K9s come from?

Most of them were bred in Europe, Holland, Czech Republic, or Germany. Then they were brought to the United States by the kennels who purchased them. Before APD chooses one for the Canine Unit, the canine has to pass rigorous selection tests for law enforcement work.

How often do they train?

Their training begins in a Canine Academy that can last for 8 weeks or more. After that, every day the handler does some obedience work with the canine. For every 3 months of patrol work, they spend 1 week working on specific drills. And once a year they are tested and if they pass, they’re certified to continue to work for another year.

Where do the dogs stay when they’re not working?

All of the dogs live with their handlers at home with their families. When they’re “off-duty” they get all the same perks as a regular house dog.

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