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Canines Essay, Research Paper

Canines on the Police Force Police dogs have become a vital part of the police force. They are well trained, obedient dogs that, unlike humans, do not fear the daily challenges that arise on the job. Police units throughout the world use K-9 units. They

re employed by most local police forces and by many governmental agencies. According to the Commissioner of Customs, Vernon D. Acree, “?The dogs have become our lowest-cost and most reliable search-and-detection tool” (Newlon 10). Police dogs can search

00 to 500 packages in a half an hour. They can search a car per minute. This speed saves time, when a human searcher could only do about one per twenty minutes. Also, according to U.S. Customs, in one year, 1973, the dogs searched 80,000 cars, 11 millio

packages and 6 million units of cargo. From this, they found 58,000 pounds of marijuana, 3,027 pounds of hashish, 18 pounds of cocaine, 29 pounds of heroin, 5 pounds of opium and 4.3 million dosage units of illegal prescription-type drugs. The combined

lue of all these drugs in 1973 was $192.5 million dollars (Newlon 2). Throughout the years, dogs have been trained using natural and artificial scents; they continue to use this training by tracking people and substances, despite on the job hazards. As

n evolved, he began to use dogs to hunt prey and search for food. However, as he became more civilized, he needed to use dogs for more than those three simple things. He needed dogs to perform certain and specialized tasks. This is how selective breedin

began. Certain dogs were used to herd sheep and were common on a farm. These dogs became known as Shepherd dogs. The German Shepherd in particular, is a late breed of various breeds of Shepherd dogs in Germany. Through selective breeding, they were adap

d for the rough job they had, plus new ones. Their shaggy coat developed into a thick, dense, short coat. They are relatively tall, (22-26 inches) and have a medium sized head with a long nose (Newlon 6). This large body helps it support more muscle mas

so German Shepherds are usually very powerful. They have extremely powerful jaws with strong teeth, and have a scissors type bite, so they grind and shred whatever they are chewing. German Shepherds are usually used as police dogs because they are natu

l born working dogs. They have been trained and bread to be used to work, so they are very easily trained and extremely loyal. They are restrained and will usually not attack suddenly, but they can fight well. They are judged by breeders as very smart a

are considered to have great judgment (Newlon 5). Dogs have been used for police work for over 75 years and are used all over the world in such places as the Americas, Europe, the Far East and Russia. New York City was the first city to use police dogs

but with little success and money running out, they abandoned the idea (Newlon 4). Then later, in London, they were very successful. This was taken up by other nearby towns, and soon spread to many large cities. Early ways in which canine units were use

were crude and probably explain the reason they were not successful at first. They would use the dogs as a crime deterrent, releasing them into the city after curfew, free to attack anything they wanted. Now, both dogs and partner go through very specia

zed and rigorous training (Newlon 10). Dogs current use on the police force is divided into five categories: Search, attack and capture, detection of explosives, detection of narcotics and a deterrent to crime (Newlon 16). The search portion is used to

nd lost people, people trapped in wreckage or other things, and to find lost items. Attack and capture is used for exactly what it sounds like. The dogs are used in pursuit of a criminal on the run and hold him until the dog?s partner can arrest him. De

ction of explosives and narcotics is used to find explosive substances and drugs, usually ones that are hidden. Deterring crime is a specialized field. Basically, the dog and partner patrol a certain area. People have a natural fear of large dogs. Crimi

ls are a lot less likely to attack a person or police officer if there is a trained German Shepherd nearby that will attack on command (Newlon 15). Although dogs are usually very easily trained, it is hard to train them to a certain scent. The reason it

s hard is not because the dogs can?t recognize the scent, or they can?t learn to identify it, but because trainers need actual scented items to train the dogs (Sachs 67). For a dead body, the trainer needs actual items the body was in contact with while

t was rotting. For drugs, the trainer needs to fill out a stack of paperwork to show that he is only going to use it for the training (Sachs 67). If the dog happens to inhale any of the drug while he is sniffing it out, it usually results in the death o

the dogs. Trainers tried to make substitute scents for drugs. For heroin, they used powdered milk, vinegar and quinine (Sachs 67). For corpses, they used anything and everything, from road kill to their own blood. These subs almost never worked (Sachs 6

. This was the reason why a group of chemists at Sigma Chemical in St. Louis developed Pseudoscents. These are chemical replicas of the real scent. The goal of these chemicals is to smell so much like the real thing that they can not be distinguished. I

these Pseudoscents can accomplish that goal, then the trainers will not need to use the real thing anymore, which will eliminate almost all of the hazards of training (Sachs 68). The reason bodies are so easily tracked is their horrible odor that even h

ans can easily smell (Sachs 72). The reason dead bodies smell, whether from old age or from gun shot, is that the coating around the stomach dissolves. This allows the digestive enzymes and stomach acid to eat away at the stomach and at the rest of the

dy. The enzymes break down proteins into amino acids, and the bacteria which naturally live in the body feast on the amino acids. They multiply incredibly quickly, and they deposit abnormal amounts of waste in the body. This waste is what smells (Sachs

). At each distinctive stage of decomposition, there are peaks of these chemicals. These peaks are used to determine the time of death, or in the case of Pseudoscents, the peaks are used to make chemical scents that smell like a certain period of decomp

ition (Sachs 72). The scientists who developed Pseudoscents started with cocaine because it is a large molecule that is easily separated. What they were going to try to do was break of the part of the molecule that contained the scent and leave the rest

f the harmful cocaine molecule behind. Luckily for them, U.S. Customs had done a lot of research on the subject. They had analyzed the gases that tend to float above cocaine and isolated the alcohols, alkalis, esters and acids in the gases (Sachs 70). S

all the scientists had to do was to combine various parts of the gas, and they had a scent molecule. It was also helpful that customs had already trained dogs try to sniff the drugs out. From the results of the dogs finding the fake scent allowed the sc

ntists create a refined version. For a final test, they had various types of dogs trained on the Pseudoscents, and they were later able to find the real thing. Problems arose from trying to create Psuedomarijuana. Instead of using one single compound to

et the scent, they used the whole plant. No work had been done on analyzing the gases of marijuana, so they had to use a process called gas chromatography (Sachs 71). This process separates chemicals on their solubility in water. The with the separated

emicals, they used mass spectrometry, which identifies the chemicals based on their atomic mass and charge (Sachs 71). Once they had identified all the chemicals, they had to look for a certain chemical that is a gas, even at low temperatures. If it is

ways a gas, then it would be most likely to waft out. They found out that different dogs were trained on different gaseous chemicals, so they mixed all of the different gaseous chemicals, and every dog could find the fake substance. After they tried it

the U.S., they tried it in other places around the world. The scientists discovered that there were different types of marijuana all over. So as of now, the fake scents are only good in the U.S., which tends to have marijuana from only a few certain sp

s (Sachs 71). Trainers who trained their dogs to sniff dead bodies use a variety of methods. Most often, they would use the dirt that was underneath a body (dirty dirt, black dirt). The dirt would become chemically bonded with the scent molecules from t

body (Sachs 71). There were problems with this method though. The most obvious, of course, is that it is disgusting. The dirt has been underneath a body and smells exactly like it, so the dirt has an inescapable odor. A trainer is quoted as saying that

e kept the dirt double bagged and put it in a gun vault, and he could still smell it (Sachs 71). Another reason that is not as obvious is that diseases can be transmitted by the dirt. The dirt may be blood soaked, and could contain AIDS, hepatitis B or

y of the other blood carried diseases. These two big problems are what drove the scientists at Sigma to create a fake odor for dead bodies, a Pseudocorpse scent. When they went to do their research, they found that the human body had been well observed

various stages of decomposition. With this information, it was easy to combine the chemicals found in the body at the particular time. With the Pseudocorpse made, the Pseudo Drowning Victim was relatively easy to make. The odd thing about a person who

s drowned is that scent molecules collect at the top to form a film (Sachs 73). The scientists needed to get the same effect, so they had to make the scent rise to the top. For this they granulated it so that they would slowly break apart and drift to t

surface. They couldn?t have it all come up at once, so they put it in a time release capsule and mixed in some sand so it would sink. This allowed a precise amount to come up to the surface at a particular time and form the film they were looking for.

ey again tested it with trained dogs, and it was easily identifiable by all of them. They will use this same principle along with the scent of burnt flesh to make Pseudo Burn Victim, which is in the process of being made (Sachs 73). The last fake scent

ey made was the scent of a scared person. This seems hard, but it was just as simple as the others. There had been a lot of studies on the compounds that our bodies release in our sweat and out into the air when we?re scared (this is how animals can sen

that you?re scared of them). The researchers took these studies one step further by finding a common compound in everyone, regardless of sex, age or race (Sachs 73). This way, it will be good for training dogs to find any person, no matter who they are

The solution worked well with the dogs and was used to train dogs to find people trapped in rubble, lost children, and escaped convicts in air vents, who tend to be charged with adrenaline. These Pseudoscents worked well in general, but they had never b

n proven to work in a controlled environment. Because of the fact that no one is sure what a dog can smell, no one can make a determination of what a dog can and can not smell. So they decided to test the chemicals in a controlled environment. They had

e dogs in decontaminated rooms where they conduct the test. Then they pump clean or scented air into the room. The dogs had been trained to press levers depending on if they smelled nothing or if they smelled something. The dogs are in a room with no wi

ows, so they can?t see the trainers. This is because, whether they know it or not, trainers tend to influence their dogs with their facial expressions (Sachs 74). With all these controlling factors, the experimenters can control all the factors of the t

t. To see how the dogs react internally, they use an electroencephalograph, which traces brain activity. This is also used to find the dog?s range of scent, which would provide reliable Pseudoscents to train all dogs (Sachs 74). Even with all the eviden

of how well Pseudoscents work, a lot of trainers are not convinced, and they plan to stick with the old methods of using the actual substances to train the dog. There are arguments for both sides. On one hand, nothing beats the real thing. The dogs wil

be trained reliably every time. On the other hand, the hazards of the dog inhaling the drug or the trainer contracting a disease are hard to ignore. The way a dog?s nose functions is an important part of understanding why they are so important to the po

ce force. In a human nose, the olfactory cells (the cells that pick up scents), are high up in the nose and are all in an area less than one square inch (Conniff 68). Most dogs, take the beagle?s nose (a dog that is often used in search units), is drawn

ut, and their cells are six times as long (Conniff 68). Also the cells are rolled up in a scroll shape inside the nose. These scrolls increase the surface area which the scents can hit and be detected. Each cell, on both dog and human, has cilia, which

e tiny hair-like extensions of the cell. These can pick up more, thus increasing the surface area. In humans, the scrolls are equal to around 3 square centimeters (Conniff 68). In a bloodhound (another dog often used on search teams), they have a heavy

se with 150 square centimeters of membrane (Conniff 68). In both dogs and human, they become accustomed to a scent quickly. When we become accustomed to the scent, unless it is really bad, we won?t smell it anymore. This is because the cells have stoppe

sending impulses to the brain, and the cells won?t detect anything unless the smell gets stronger. In humans, as part of being more intelligent, we have developed a mechanism to suppress the recognition of an odor (Conniff 68). However, dogs don?t have

is mechanism. If they did have it, then it would be a huge handicap when it?s hunting. Also becoming used to a scent would be a handicap, but they can, in a sense, revive the cells by taking in a breath of fresh air. In humans we use our diaphragm to sn

f, but dogs, and most other mammals, use their nostrils and the muscles in their nose to sniff. This allows them to sniff a lot faster, letting them take in more of the scent (Conniff 68). One dog in particular has another special adaptation for trailin

things. Scientists are not quite sure how, but bloodhounds seem to be able to pick up certain scents in specific parts of their nose. Every scent fits into the cell like a lock and key (Conniff 69). The way dogs are able to track human scent is that our

kin cells are constantly flaking off (Conniff 69). What happens is that the air around a person?s body is being heated to 98.6. When the hot air rises, it brings up bits of skin and bacteria that live on the skin. This is known as raft (Conniff 69). Raf

is invisible, but is always coming off peoples’ skin. They spray up and fall around our feet. The human body has 60 trillion skin cells, and about 50 million flake off a day (Conniff 69). We also produce 30 to 50 ounces of sweat a day (Conniff 69). The

eat and cells have no scent on their own though. The scent comes from the bacteria that live on the skin. There are million of bacteria per square inch, and when they break down lipids in the skin, they release a waste that can easily be picked up by a

g. This is why diet and bathing affect the scent. Some families may have a common genetic scent, or be similar in scent by the fact that they all use the same soap or hand lotion. The adaptation of the blood hound having each scent fit in to it?s own ce

makes it possible for a bloodhound to be able to determine between each family member?s scent (Conniff 69). Tracking a scent in a field with no wind and enough time for the bacteria to react would provide the perfect setting to follow a scent (”Theory”

). Most often the tracking is in the city though, where there are the rafts of the other people who have walked by. That?s why it?s important for a dog to be able to distinguish between different people?s scents. Wind can have a big effect on raft, whic

is blown around by a slight breeze. To understand the effect, if smoke blows in the wind, it flies to one direction. It is the dog and the handler?s job to be able to understand the way the wind blows and not be distracted by a blown raft. When wind hit

a building, it swirls of backwards and to the sides, so if the scent is blown against a building, then it could end up going in the opposite direction the wind is blowing and off to the side. A dog will follow the blown scent, depending on how far it bl

. So even if a dog appears to be going in a random direction, he is actually following the scent that was blown over (”Theory” 3). There are also air currents in a building. They are usually more confusing because even though the person is in the other

om, the dog smells him in the room next door because his scent is blowing through a crack in the wall. Around air conditioners it is also tough very to figure out because the vents blow the scent all around (”Theory” 3). Chemicals can also affect a dog?

sense of smell, but usually just for a short period of time. This is why people try to cover up food or drugs by putting them in perfume soaked clothes, or hiding them in a shoe. A scent can not be masked (”Theory” 3). The only way to affect a dog?s sen

of smell is to deaden it. This is when a scent washes out the cells in the nose, and everything smells like that for a short period of time. German scientists did a study on the effects of pollution on scent. From zero to five feet up, the pollution wa

the thickest. A German Shepherd?s nose is even with the tailpipe of a regular sized car (”Theory” 3). This can affect a dog?s sense of smell. This is why a handler must be aware of chemicals and pollution. If there are a lot of either of these things, t

t can deaden a dog?s sense of smell. Sometimes in conditions like that the job is better done by a person. A dog can smell about 10% to 100% better than a human (”Theory” 4). 100% if the scent is really subtle and 10% if it is a very strong scent. An ex

ple of this would be that a person can smell a bottle of perfume almost as well as a dog. The dog however, can smell something hiding in a bush that he just passed, whereas a person would not be able to. Pigment of the skin also affects a dog?s sense of

mell. Dark dogs have been recorded as being able to smell much better than a lighter dog. This is the reason why white dogs are not used in K-9 units (”Theory” 4). The Department of Agriculture uses beagles to patrol the airport in New York and in LA. T

y are trained to sniff out fruits, vegetables and meat. The reason they have these dogs patrolling the airport for food is to prevent the fruit fly larvae, a destructive and rapidly reproducing pest, from entering the U.S. Produce may have other types o

insects on them or parasites as well. Of the 1,450,000 products seized last year, 200,000 had harmful pests on them (McMurran 148). The biggest hazard of training is inhaling the narcotic substances that the dog is training with. The dogs do not become

dicted like many people think, they just simply die. They can?t handle much of the substance. In the article “Just Say No, Rover” (Time ?90) they say that the dogs get very excited when they are searching for the drug. In their excitement of finding it,

hey may accidentally inhale some. The drugs seized tend to be very potent forms of the drug and can kill in small doses. Vets get about six calls a year from people that have dogs that have overdosed (”Rover” 43). They recommend to the trainers that the

carry around an artificial resuscitation device and charcoal to absorb the drug in the dog?s stomach (”Rover” 43). Another hazard can be the environment. In Sri Lanka they have started using mongooses to sniff out substances. They have long noses and ca

smell almost as well as a dog. The reason dogs aren?t good is because their low tolerance for the heat and humidity (”Mongooses” 53). They get very tired and have to rest all the time and they aren?t any good when they have to rest all the time. There i

also has another advantage to using mongooses rather than dogs. Muslims consider dogs to be dirty and would not let them be around their luggage, so this way they can spare the dogs and please the people who are in the airport (”Mongooses” 53). Another

zard is the people who get the drugs seized from them. Drug lords are not happy when they lose drugs and money. In eleven months, two dogs who patrol the Mexican border have seized $128 million in cocaine and other drugs (”Narcs” 33). Because of this hu

loss, drug kingpins have put a $30,000 contract on the lives of the two dogs. Because of this, the K-9 unit down there was forced to give more protection to the dogs and to hire more dogs. Trained by law enforcement officials using natural and artifici

scents, dogs have been useful for years in tracking people and substances, despite the hazards that arise on the job. Police dogs seize tons of drugs and contaminated food every year all over the country. They prevent crops from being destroyed by fore

n pests and prevents some drugs from coming into the community. Police dogs also help find lost family members, whether they are lost in the forest or in a collapsed building. Police dogs help protect the lives and well being of the citizens they are in

harge of protecting. Works Cited “The Border?s Nosy Narcs.” Time 21 March 1988: 33. “Calling All Mongooses.” Time 24 Nov. 1986: 53. Conniff, Richard. “We Shed 50 Million Cells a Day; They make Good Scents To a Hound.” Smithsonian Jan. 1986: 64-72. Delle

, Wendy. “Dogs On the Case: Search Dogs Who Help Save Lives and Enforce the Law (book review).” School Library Journal October 1989: 127. “Just Say No, Rover.” Time 12 Nov. 1990: 43. “K-9 Olfactory Systems-Theory Of Scent.” Trainers Resource Center http

/www.best.com/~policek9/k9home/theory.html: 1-4. Newlon, Clarke. Police Dogs In Action. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1974. Sachs, Jessica Snyder. “The Fake Scent Of Death.” Discovery March 1996: 87-94.


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