The Wanderer.

Exciting Technology Keeps Patrol Dogs Safe

March 1, 2017

K-9 units throughout the country are using innovative technology in the vehicles carrying their four-legged partners. While you may never see these features at your local car dealership, they offer insights into the future of mobile pet protection. 

An SUV Any Dog Owner Would Love

An SUV with specially crafted options is key to helping patrol dogs traverse potentially dangerous situations. Today's vehicles include sensors that detect movement outside of the vehicle and cameras to provide better blind spot monitoring. Handlers have an emergency button they can push if a human partner is in danger or under attack from a suspect. With one push of the button, their canine counterpart is able to offer assistance thanks to the quick-open door mechanism. 

Arguably, one of the most important features comes in the way of temperature controls and heat protection. Greenville, South Carolina's K-9 unit is lucky to have this technology in their patrol vehicle fleet. When triggered by a thermostat reaching a pre-set temperature, a vehicle's light and sirens blare, while doors open to give the patrol dog a way out of the heated area. Master Patrol Officer Derek Loftis, an experienced handler for the division, affirms this equipment saves canine lives. 

When it comes to civilian canine applications, the LINK AKC smart collar relies on similar technology. Using the collar in conjunction with the mobile phone app, an owner can monitor temperatures and set alerts based on comfort levels.

The Future of Mobile K-9 Technology

Loftis is optimistic about adding even more technology to the unit. "I think handlers being issued night vision and/or thermal imaging equipment would help," the officer said in response to questions about future additions that could benefit patrol dogs. Both features help officers save time and reduce the risk of injury by easily identifying dangerous suspects when lighting conditions are less than perfect. In addition to standard mobile gear such as goggles, the technology can be installed in windshields and side mirors to allow car occupants to see into dark situations and stay ahead of the outside safety threat.