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Operations Division

K-9 Unit

The Modesto Police K-9 Unit is operates within the Operations Bureau of the police department. The K-9 unit currently has six full-time canine teams assigned to patrol. Four of these teams are also certified for drug detection work.

The K-9 Team’s Home Life

We believe in the very special bond that exists between the K-9 and the handler. All our K-9s go home with the handlers each day, and become part of the family. At home, the dogs spend time relaxing, or enjoying their favorite hobby. Some of the dogs love to play ball, while others enjoy spending time in the family swimming pool or relaxing in the house.


What Kind of Dogs Do We Use?

Currently we use German Shepherd Dogs and Belgian Malenois for Patrol, Cross-Training and Drug Detection work.

What Do We Use the Dogs For?

Patrol K-9’s are used to search for criminal suspects as well as lost or missing persons. Due to the dog’s keen sense of smell, a K-9 is able to search an area of building in less then half the time it takes for an officer to search. We also use the dogs for tracking and evidence searching. The dogs have the ability to follow a person’s footsteps and indicate the location of dropped articles. Patrol dogs are trained to protect their handler from assault. They are used to apprehend fleeing suspects as determined by the handler.

Drug detection dogs are trained to locate various types of drugs, including Marijuana, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, and Heroin.

The K-9 Unit also conducts nearly 100 public demonstrations each year.

Where Do the Dogs Come From?

We purchase the dogs from various kennels in the United States and Europe.

Why do you get dogs from Europe? K-9 Team
We started looking at European dogs in the early 1980’s, as did many other police departments. Canine training in Europe, especially in Denmark, is a major sport. We found that there were very high quality dogs, with basic training already learned, available in Europe at a very low price. As with many things, however, as the demand increased, so did the price. Although it is still possible to find quality dogs at a low price, it is much more difficult. We are now getting the majority of our dogs here in the United States, although the dogs do typically have a close lineage with their European counterparts.
K-9 Team Where are the dogs trained?
The Modesto Police Department conducts all of its own training. We have our own K-9 training facility, which is where the teams conduct weekly training. The K-9 handlers also often find spots around town to conduct training in different environments. The dogs are put through rigorous exercises and must pass demanding tests in order to become a police K-9.
How long does a dog usually work?

This varies with each team. We usually start training the dogs around 18-24 months of age. Depending on the dog and the handler, the training can last anywhere from four months to nine months. The dogs usually start showing signs they are ready to retire around the age of eight or nine. After the dogs retire, they stay at the home and live with the family.

If you have any questions regarding the K-9 unit, you can contact the Sergeant Kleiber of the K-9 Unit at the Modesto Police Department, (209) 572-9533 or