The subject of this writing concerns the underutilization of Louisville Division of Police canine teams by the department’s rank and file officers. Six hypotheses statements were developed to test four variables. The variables are: officers’ attitudes toward canines and canine teams; officers’ knowledge of the capabilities of the canine teams; biographical characteristics of the officers; and officers’ usage of canine teams. Data were gathered through the distribution of 640 surveys to all sworn officers within the Louisville Division of Police. Four hundred and eight surveys were returned and used as a data set for the analysis.
The following topics are discussed in the literature review: The history of the use of dogs in law enforcement and during wartime, the dog’s unique characteristics which enable the dog to perform some police related tasks and the advantages and disadvantages of having a canine unit. The implementation of a canine unit and the trained police dogs capabilities are reviewed. A brief history of the Louisville Division of Police Canine Unit is given, and examples of canine teams’ capabilities are provided.