This week, we would like to discuss two recent articles about a canine breed typically less associated with law enforcement: The Labrador Retriever! For many of us, German Shepherds and Malinois are the go-to breeds when imagining law enforcement K-9 units. However, state troopers working in Michigan and officers guarding the Canandaigua VA Medical Center have found Labradors to be an excellent fit for certain situations involving lots of civilian interaction.
For officers working out of the VA Medical Center, the friendly and personable nature of Labradors provides an important benefit to veterans who may be struggling. The following is a quote from Sgt. Chris Hamilton as he discusses his work with veterans at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center: “If they are really amped up, and if the environment is safe and appropriate, I will bring Sampson into the room with me and things immediately change. Sampson will go lick his or her hand, and get them to the level we need them to be… It automatically brings a smile to their face. It will very often turn an angry or upset veteran into a happy veteran.” Sgt. Hamilton’s partner Sampson has responded to “nearly 70 drug-related calls …and found drugs on 14 occasions” since 2016. Sampson and other labs provide a valuable service in helping Veterans maintain a healthy lifestyle, and these canine companions brighten the atmosphere of where they work as well!
Michigan State Troopers often use Labradors for their electronics detection and vapor weight canines. According to officer Schlicht, “electronic detection dogs and our vapor weight dogs are pretty special purpose dogs, and we use labs for that just because they’re a little more people-friendly, less intimidating, and work crowds a little better.” The canines help law enforcement computer crime units to detect electronics by smelling the glue used in these items and alerting the officers. Yet another case of highly trained law enforcement canines who would fit in well at a family picnic!
These stories highlight the importance of the calming and mood-boosting effect that we have all come to appreciate in our four-legged friends. While we already knew that they could be highly trained, we shouldn’t forget the positive atmosphere provided by these furry folks and the role it can play improve safety and lives.