Dubai: Police dogs can now find bodies underwater, handle helicopter drop-offs

The K9s are also trained to sniff out explosives, detect hidden drugs, and locate missing people under the rubble in disasters or earthquakes


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sun 19 Feb 2023, 1:47 PM

The Dubai Police on Sunday said it has introduced two specialities in recruiting K9 canines, which include finding bodies underwater and handling helicopter drop-offs.

"Our unit is capable of using K9 to search for missing people underwater [and] exhume drowned bodies, thus making it easier for security officers to find them, as well as facilitating the identification process,” said Major Salah Al-Mazroui, director of the K9 security unit in Dubai Police.

He explained that the K9 unit at the Dubai Police Security Inspection Department has trained canines to participate in helicopter airdrops when necessary. In addition, K9s are trained to sniff out explosives, perform precautionary inspections at airports and seaports, detect hidden drugs, and locate missing people under the rubble in disasters or earthquakes.

The K9 security unit emphasised that they will showcase their successful experience in utilising the senses of police dogs to detect individuals who are potentially infected with infectious diseases or chronic diseases at the World Police Summit on March 7-9.

Dubai Police said they have established a partnership with the French police to conduct a joint study, and that they’ve already achieved some notable results in this regard.

Al-Mazroui emphasised that the security personnel examine ways to address the challenges posed by the weather conditions in the UAE and for the other participating countries facing a similar challenge.

He added that during the hot summer months, the dogs' health and performance are significantly impacted by the high temperatures, and they can quickly become exhausted.

"Related solutions are constantly considered to ensure a moderate temperature environment suitable for police dogs to perform their duties effectively. Experts from around the world will be consulted during the World Police Summit to search for ways to improve the dogs' working environment and to adopt the best practices for their care and treatment. Additionally, new standards will be set for choosing police dogs and ways to dispatch them across residential and hot spots," he said.

Dr Marti Becker, an expert in the health and well-being of police dogs, said with the rise in security threats, there is a need to enhance security more extensively and cost-effectively. “Thus, we need to rely on a resource that can quickly respond to the call of duty in all circumstances and with the lowest cost."

"One such resource that never calls in sick or doesn't respond to the call of duty is police and military working dogs. For the price of a bowl of food and a Kong toy, they will risk their lives to protect those of their handlers and us," he said.

Dr Becker explained that dogs possess not only strong senses that allow them to detect explosions and flammable and prohibited substances, fruits and vegetables, but that "they can literally become "K911" when called upon for action. Just like with fellow officers, they will put their lives on the line for their human partners."

Janet Crespo Cajigas, a Chemistry PhD Candidate at the Florida International University, emphasised the importance of bridging knowledge gaps between end-users and researchers to ensure that scientists focus on real problems facing canine units. “By doing so, organisations can better address detection challenges and improve their overall effectiveness in the field,” she said.


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