Canine (K-9) Unit
The Mount Dora Police Department has one Canine Unit. The Canine Unit consists of a canine and a sworn police officer handler. The Canine Unit provides an important support function for the Uniform Patrol Section. Some of the critical services the Canine Unit provides are responding to alarms, conducting building and article searches, detecting illegal drugs, tracking felony suspects and locating missing persons.
A canine handler begins their career as a patrol officer where they develop their basic and advanced law enforcement skills. Potential new canine officers must be experienced law enforcement officers and have a proven track record at making sound decisions. Once selected to become a canine handler, the canine handler candidate will attend a basic canine handler’s course where they are critically evaluated by several certified canine trainers. In the canine handler’s course, the new handlers learn everything they need to know about the care of their new canine partner. The new handler becomes the sole provider and caretaker of their new law enforcement partner. Once they pass the canine handlers course, the new handler will progress into the canine certification course. For the next several months, canine handlers and their canine partner are rigorously and critically evaluated for their suitability as a canine team. The canine team learns how to conduct searches for criminals, missing persons or detect illegal drugs. At any time during the training, handlers and/or their canines could be determined to be unsuitable and the process is restarted with a new handler and/or canine.
Once the canine handler and canine successfully complete their training, the team must constantly train to maintain their proficiency to maintain their annual certification.
A full service canine team is a tool used by the Mount Dora Police Department. The Mount Dora Police Department’s Canine Unit is a full service patrol canine that is only handled by the canine handler or experienced canine trainer.