Rockford Police Department sees increased calls for K9s - – Rockford’s News Leader

Rockford Police Department sees increased calls for K9s


Rockford Police Department is using K9s more in recent years.

"We get a lot of calls," Rockford Police Department Officer Cornelius Mathews said. "People want to be safe."

According to officers K9s are becoming more useful for the Rockford Police Department.

"We go to like NIU," Mathews said. "We search their facilities before football games. Anytime somebody gets a bomb threat you know they take them very serious now."

Iso and Storm are K9s for RPD.  Iso's job is to sniff out bombs.

"He tracks humans and he also searches for explosives," Mathews said. "He is trained through probably 5 different explosive odors and it's just a training process."

Storm is tasked with finding drugs.

"He's a patrol dog and he's trained in narcotics detection, tracking, handler protection which is like biting some body if they try to hurt me or him and article searches," Rockford Police Department Sargent Duane Johnson said.

Officers said calls for service have increased 20 percent overall for K9s compared to this time last year that's because Iso is needed more.

"I think that's for several reasons," Johnson said. "One I think there's more awareness in the public with what's going on in the world right now and there's other venues that require explosive sweeps with what's going on."

Mathews said circumstances have changed.

"back in the day when you got bomb threat people would just kind of check a building, make sure it's ok. go back to work," Mathews said.  "Now they'll shut it down have us come out."

K9s and handlers are in-sync thanks to visual cues.

"That's a confirmation when he sits," Johnson said, as Iso found a hidden scent demonstrating his abilities.  "That's him telling officer Mathews that's there's an explosive odor there and that's his tug toy.  That's the dogs reward."

The hope is always that calls for service turn out to be nothing that can harm the public, but when a threat is present these dogs will protect and serve.

Officers say in 2015 the department had 3 K9s and responded to 537 K9 related calls for service. 

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