K-9 unit helps sniff out, snuff out crime in Greenville
The Daily Reflector
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Sometimes man’s best friend is an officer’s most effective partner.
At the Greenville Police Department, K-9 officers are part of the team. They stand ready to answer the call, whether for a search-and-rescue mission, a fleeing suspect or an alarm activation.
Members of the community were able to learn more about these special officers during a Police Community Relations Committee meeting on Tuesday night.
Greenville Police K-9 handlers Bradley Nunnery, Brian Neague and Chad Bowen were on hand to discuss the K-9s’ role in apprehending criminals, their success in fighting crime and the bond between, K-9s and their handlers, as well as to give a demonstration of their training.
The department has seven K-9s on its force. They are trained in tracking, narcotics detection, article and area searches and handler protection.
“It's an expensive program but we get to pay back in dividends,” Neague said. “We get to interact with communities, we get to answer questions and beat down misconceptions. I want to know what is on people's minds and what's bothering them.
“If someone went out, held a gun to somebody's head as they robbed a store and that dog goes out and finds that person, he's paid for himself ten times over,” Bowen said.
“It's very rare that our dogs have to bite people,” he said. “Most people, when confronted by a dog, give up. It's a wonderful tool when used properly and at the right time.”
Neague said the dogs apprehend suspects on command and without command, based on sudden aggressive movement.
“Specifically, in the 1960s police K-9s were misutilized during the Civil Rights Movement,” Neague said. “There is no doubt about that. We have policies in place to try to beat down some of the cultural stigma that still exists today. Our dogs are not racists. Our dogs do not bite on your neck. Our dogs are not trained to kill.”
The most recent K-9 to join the department’s ranks, Axle, is an 80-pound Belgian Malinois/Shepherd mix from Hungary, who attended the meeting on Tuesday night.
Axle and Nunnery started training together in June and they had their first official shift together on July 25.
The bond between handler and their canine partners is incredible, Nunnery said in an August interview.
“From the beginning, it's about building rapport with the dog,” Nunnery said. “The dog's got to trust you and you've got to trust the dog. It's the coolest feeling in the world when I get to go to work and load him up in the truck, pull out of the driveway and serve the community.”
Nunnery said the K-9 unit is a great resource for all the department’s officers. Of the seven dogs, four are assigned to patrol and three are assigned to specialized units.