Sgt. Anthony Puckett and his canine partner met us recently for an outing to learn more about the role of highly trained police dogs with WFPD. Sgt. Puckett has been around K-9 teams for the past 18 years and is now a trainer himself so he’s the guy in the know.
When you think of police dogs the typical image that comes to mind is a dog lunging at some perps arm as he is dragged to the ground. Sure, it makes for a great movie or television shot but that’s not actually what the dogs do most of the time.
As an active member of the Wake Forest Police Department the police dogs are a fantastic time saving tool to help officers find drugs, find people, and chase bad guys.
Sgt. Puckett’s dog is named Chase thanks to his daughter. Puckett’s daughter suggested the name because “he was going to be chasing bad guys.” Can’t argue with that kind of logic. We though Gottcha should be the name of his next dog.
Chase is a full blown German Shepard. Not the average Sears type German Shepherd, but a 100% focused German Shepard law enforcement officer.
After being around Chase that one thing we came away with was a ton of respect. That dog is laser focused on doing his best for Sgt. Puckett.
When shooting some pictures of Chase it became apparent that we were not some fluffy reporter lying on the ground to take a creative picture. To Chase we were just a lump on the ground in his way to get to Sgt. Puckett.
Let us sum up our general impression of what any perp should think when Puckett and Chase roll up, “Oh no. This isn’t going to end well.”
Chase makes the act of policing an exercise of efficiency. Take a traffic stop for example. A typical traffic stop and search for drugs might take 20 minutes or more with one of those human officers.
It takes Chase about a minute to search a car for heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. When drugs are detected Chase will start to scratch at the location they are in.
Imagine being Sgt. Puckett’s daughter coming home from a high school party? Now there is one kid who is not going to get away with much.
WFFP has four canine officers, three German Shepards and a Belgian Malinois which to us ignorant reporters looks a lot like a German Shepard.
The dogs are bred overseas in Belgium, Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. These specialized dogs are expensive, ranging in price from $8,000 to $15,000 already trained.
The are commanded in their native foreign language. The officers are fluent in these languages, enough at least to make a foreign waiter fetch, lay down, be quiet, sit, and halt.
Sgt. Puckett says, “Chase is truly my partner.” He spends more time with Chase than he does at home with his family.
The Wake Forest PD K-9 team works frequently with neighboring police departments when K-9 assistance is requested. Sgt. Puckett said the local jurisdiction K-9 teams are a tight knit group and form a larger brotherhood of professional police pooper scoopers.
Chase is trained on a reward system where his goal is to do a great job and get the Kong or some other dog toy. We suggested that might be an effective way to train new Wake Forest Police Officers but somehow we think that suggestion is going to fall on deaf ears.
“How much do I get paid as a new officer?”
“Depends. How do you feel about squeaky toys?”