The Joliet Police Department’s K-9 Unit was created in 1980. The current unit has a Sergeant, Unit Traininer, four Officers, and four Police Service Dogs. Three K-9's are dual-purpose (narcotics & tracking). One K-9 is single-purpose (narcotics). One K-9 team is currently attached to the department’s Special Operations Squad.
- Sergeant John Stefanski.
- Officer Robert Badertscher (Unit Trainer).
- Officer Bruce Trevillian & K-9 "Ryso."
- Officer Katelyn Kozielski & K-9 "Nes."
- Officer Dan Willis & K-9 "Ady."
- Officer Adam Stapleton & K-9 "Nevil."
All K-9s are certified annually through the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA) in obedience, narcotic search, tracking, article/evidence search, aggression, and area search. Due to the canine’s superior sense of smell, hearing, and physical capabilities, a trained law enforcement canine is a valuable asset for a police department to use in order to assist in providing a safe environment for the citizens of the community.
The police canine’s main function is as a locating tool:
- Narcotic Detection
- Building & Area Searches
- Evidence Recovery
The police canine is the only weapon an officer can use that can be recalled after being deployed. It also cannot be used against the officer. The canine draws focus to itself without an officer present.
Most police canines are trained to smell for narcotics, whether it be during a building or vehicle search. Most, including the Joliet Police Department K-9s, will scent for the following:
- Methamphetamine (including ecstasy and LSD)
- Crack Cocaine
Joliet Police Department K-9s will go into a “passive” alert to show the handler where the source of where the drugs are. This means they will sit down and stare at the source. Other police canines are “aggressive” alert dogs. This means they will dig at the source to find it.
The Joliet Police Department K-9s are all trained in tracking. The police service dogs are trained to follow ground disturbances, not odors, and are utilized to track fugitives or lost/missing persons.
Building & Area Search
A police service dog's sense of smell makes it easier to locate hidden suspects. The Joliet Police Department K-9s are utilized to search broad/large areas to save Officers from walking into a potenial ambush.
A police service dog can scent recently touched/handled items and alert their handler to the items. The Joliet Police Department K-9 are used to recover dropped weapons, stolen merchandise/personal property, and other items.