The Ellisville Police Department acquired its first K-9 in 2016. Dark started patrolling the streets of Ellisville on April 30 after he and his partner Corporal Corey Smith spent twelve weeks of intense training at the Shallow Creek Kennels in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania. Dark, a Belgian Malinois, is certified by the North American Police Work Dog Association in tracking, article searches, obedience, aggression and narcotics. He is trained to detect odors of several types of drugs, including cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and heroin, and can perform vehicle and building searches for those substances. Dark can also help track missing children or elderly, and help find suspects who have fled the scene of a crime. The department’s K-9 Unit plays a vital role assisting this agency and others in the accomplishment of mission objectives. The superior sense of smell, hearing and potential aggressiveness of a trained law enforcement canine is a valuable supplement to law enforcement manpower. Although the canine is well trained when selected by the department, training continues for the working life of the dog. Corporal Smith has a strong commitment to the program and this assignment will be one of the longest in the department. Not only is Dark and Corporal Smith together constantly at work, Dark lives with Corporal Smith’s family. At home these dogs act like ordinary family pets. However, once his handler puts him in the car for the trip to work, the dog’s demeanor changes. The dog has an innate sense of when they will be required to assist their partner and they look forward to coming to work. The dog must obey their handler without hesitation and be able to work under the most trying and adverse conditions. K-9 dogs require constant attention and care in order to maintain the high standards placed upon them. Corporal Smith and Dark received over 300 hours from K-9 school and another 128 hours of formal training in 2016. This does not include the extensive training they conduct daily while on and off-duty together. In 2016, the K-9 Unit was called out one time on May 3 to help track a suspect at the Trends Motel. The suspect was not found until later. While on duty, the K-9 Unit assisted patrol officers with five drug sniffs on vehicles, nine building searches, five drug sniffs at schools, and one flight risk subject wanted for a felony. The Unit also participated in three public relation events.