K-9 units are a specialized division of a county police force and, despite common misconceptions, they are anything but attack dogs.
According to an interview with Montgomery County Media, K-9 Officer Andrew Richardson shared a behind the scenes look at how k-9 units are a specialized and desired unit to join. Despite popular belief, these dogs are primarily used as locating tools and rarely, if ever, are intended to attack an individual. Officer Richardson characterized a scenario where there might be 20 officers looking for a suspect to no avail until a k-9 is deployed. These dogs make quick work of the search and apprehension of a target when location by officers is not possible.
While police dogs have the training and ability to apprehend a suspect, it is not a common occurrence for them to be instructed to bite. Details from the Montgomery County Media interview discuss how a unit of 20 dogs in Montgomery County might apprehend an individual 2-3 times total in one year. Many dogs retire from a career, with no bites at all.
The dogs that typically end up in police work come from vendors in the United States but they are procuring dogs almost exclusively from Europe. Officer Richardson also made a point to explain that although the dogs go home with officers, they are not pets. Axel, the k-9 featured in the video, goes home with Officer Richardson but lives in a large, comfortable kennel just outside of the home. “They are certainly not pets,” he says.