Intensive training, a commitment to transparency and a strong bond between dog and deputy are the hallmarks of a successful Patrol K-9 Unit. On the latest episode of the Shop Talk with the Sheriff podcast, you’ll learn how those key elements are in great supply at the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
BSO Sergeant Emmanuel Koutsofios joins Sheriff Gregory Tony on the episode to give listeners a peek inside the unit, which consists of 18 deputy handlers and their K-9s.
The unit is mostly reactive, called on to assist in searching for fleeing or hiding felony suspects. The Patrol K-9s may also be used to support SWAT operations or in the service of search or arrest warrants. Patrol K-9s are a less lethal tool and may be required to use force to apprehend a fleeing or dangerous suspect, after appropriate and timely warnings are given and safety precautions taken. According to national standards, less than 30 percent of K-9 apprehensions should result in a K-9 contact with a suspect. In 2020, BSO’s contact ratio in its Patrol K-9 Unit was 7.5 percent, much lower than the national standard, showing the level of care and caution taken by the unit in spite of unpredictable, and oftentimes potentially violent, circumstances.
“Our primary function is a locating tool,” Koutsofios explained. “The secondary function is a utilization of force, if necessary, and that force is only deployed by the resistance level of the suspect we’re looking for.
“The best tool in my opinion for the sheriff’s office as a de-escalating tool is the dog,” he said.
Listen to Sheriff Tony’s conversation with Sergeant Koutsofios in the latest episode of Shop Talk with the Sheriff for free HERE or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Pocket Casts, iHeartRadio, Breaker, Overcast, RadioPublic and Castbox.