Welcome to the Anchorage Police Department K-9 Unit!
The mission of the Anchorage Police Department Canine Unit is to train, develop, and deploy "police service dog" teams to support the various operational sections of the department in achieving the police mission in the safest and most efficient manner possible.
About the APD K-9 Unit
For almost 40 years, the Anchorage Police Department Canine Unit has been providing protection, expertise, and service to our police department and the community. The APD Canine (K-9) Unit was created in the wake of Officer John Flora's death in 1975, when he was shot and killed in the line of duty while investigating a burglary. Following his death, Officer Flora's widow created a memorial fund in his name with the expressed purpose of raising money to start a canine unit for APD. Since then, with the invaluable help of sponsorships and funding obtained through the Dollars for Dogs program, our Canine Unit has established a distinguished history of thwarting criminal activity, saving lives, catching suspects, and serving our community.
Today, this elite unit of 7 dog-handler teams is led by APD Sergeant Jason Schmidt.
Police Dogs Save Lives!
Police dogs are used to track suspects, recover weapons, and find lost or missing adults and children. An example of their value to our community is illustrated by the story many years ago of a boy who had become buried in a snow berm along the road. Large snow graters were coming through the neighborhood, widening the road and scraping up the snow that created the berms. After several hours of searching themselves, the little boy's parents called APD; a German Shepherd named "King" and his handler responded and ultimately located the little boy stuck and buried in the pile of snow. King and his officer are credited with saving the boy's life, as he surly would have died if the graters had gotten to him first!
This is just one of many examples of how our four-legged heroes are making a difference in our community every day.
Dollars for Dogs
For over 25 years, Dollars for Dogs has provided vital funding and support to the Anchorage Police Department K-9 Unit. Governed by a Board of Directors comprised exclusively of volunteers, Dollars for Dogs, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization that works cooperatively with trained APD personnel to sponsor specially selected dogs for the purpose of police work. For more information about the Dollars for Dogs program, visit their website at http://www.dollarsfordogsalaska.org/ .
Meet the APD K-9 Unit
Officer Darrell Evans and Jimmy Lee
Officer Evans has been with the Anchorage Police Department for over 18 years, more than five of which have been as a member of the APD K-9 Unit. He started his career as a police officer in Homer, Alaska, where he served for 1 1/2 years before joining APD. At APD, he has also performed as a Field Training Officer, Firearms Instructor, and EVOC (driving) instructor. Officer Evans retired from the Air National Guard after 20 years of service.
Officer Evans' partner is a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois named Jimmy Lee. Jimmy Lee, who joined APD in December of 2008, was sponsored by VFW Post 1685 through the Dollars for Dogs program. As far as interests go, Officer Evans reports Jimmy Lee enjoys "eating, tracking, eating, finding drugs, eating, playing eating, running, eating, chasing a toy, eating playing on the beach, eating, and sleeping."
Did you notice a theme?
Jimmy Lee has well over 100 "finds" so far in his career, including people, drugs, and articles of evidence.
Officer Mark Haywood and Diesel
Officer Haywood has been a member of the APD K-9 Unit for 15 of his 19 years with APD; twelve of those years he has shared his expertise as a trainer. His partner, Diesel, is a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois. Born in Holland, he was sponsored by Merrill Lynch through the Dollars for Dogs program and joined APD in August of 2010. According to Officer Haywood, Diesel loves "chilling at home" and seeking out his toys - and the more toys the better. Officer Haywood says "Diesel will attempt to fit as many toys in his mouth as he can!!!"
Officer Christopher Nelson and DOC
Officer Nelson, who started with APD in 1998, has been a member of the K-9 Unit for over two years. He is a former U.S. Marine, a current member of the APD SWAT team, and has performed as both a Firearms Instructor and Field Training Officer for the department.
DOC is a 4-year-old Belgium Malinois. Joining the department in 2011, DOC was sponsored by a private donor through the Dollars for Dogs program. According to Officer Nelson, DOC is fun-loving, with a variety of interests including "Kongs, balls, squeaking toys, stuffed animals, balloons, bubble wrap, spring-style door stops, breakfast & lunch" and, of course, Officer Nelson. His favorite game involves "something to chase."
Officer Lars Tulip and Alex
With 5 years on as a K-9 officer, Officer Tulip is a 9 year veteran of APD and an Officer Survival instructor. Alex, a 4 1/2 year-old Belgian Malinois, was funded by a private donor through the Dollars for Dogs program. Alex loves chasing balls, and one of his favorite treats is...BACON!
Interested in learning more? Check out these links:
Want to know how police dogs are selected and trained? Here's an article that explains a little about how the process works: http://people.howstuffworks.com/police-dog.htm
What is a Belgian Malinois? For more information on the breed, and some insight into why they may be a popular breed for police work, visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgian_Shepherd_Dog_(Malinois)
Officer Scott Huston and ERL
Officer Huston has been with the Anchorage Police Department for 12 years, two of which have been as a member of the APD K-9 Unit. Unlike many of his Belgian Malinois counterparts, ERL is a 7-year-old Dutch Shepherd, sponsored by the Eagle River Lions Club through the Dollars for Dogs program. ERL enjoys playing with everyone, his favorite game is "chuck-it", and he loves chewing on rawhide bones.
Officer Lonnie Brown and Aerie
Officer Brown, who is a 19 year veteran of the Anchorage Police Department, has worked with four different dogs during his 15 years as a member of the APD K-9 Unit. Officer Brown's current partner is a 2 1/2 year old Belgian Malinois named Aerie, who was sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Eagles Club and the 4207 Ladies Eagle Auxiliary Club through the Dollars for Dogs program. Aerie's favorite game is tracking, and he loves to play with a Kong-style black rubber hose.
Here are just a few examples of what Officer Brown and Aerie do in a night:
K-9 Aerie Tracks Two Suspects through Baxter Bog
K-9 Aerie helps Police Locate Burglary Suspect
Alert Citizen Notifies Police of Burglary in Progress; K-9 Aerie Helps Officers Locate Suspect
Officer Nathan Keays and MP
Officer Keays has been with APD for 9 years, 5 of which have been with the K-9 Unit. He started police work as an officer with the North Slope Borough Police Department in 2003, transferred to the University of Alaska, Anchorage Police Department in 2004, and finally find his way to APD in May of 2005. He has been assigned to the K-9 Unit since 2008. Officer Keays has a bachelor's degree in Business Management, and teaches Defensive Tactics at APD.
MP is an 8-year-old Belgian Malinois who was sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Porcaro through the Dollars for Dogs program; MP was named after Mike Porcaro's father. He joined the department in 2009. MP loves playing fetch, especially with tennis balls.
"At home, MP is always sleeping," says Officer Keays, "and at work he is always ready to go. When he gets out of the vehicle he is ready for any task that I give him."
Nothing could have illustrated this better than a recent incident where MP was seriously injured while apprehending a dangerous suspect.