Grant helps add more bite to Springfield Police Force

Published: Oct. 25, 2016 at 6:32 PM CDT
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In Police stand-offs, dogs like Charlie are invaluable. Charlie and his handler, Officer Michael Karnes have worked together for more than two years. " We use their nose more than anything," says Karnes. " Their nose is what locates what we're looking for. In that aspect, their sense of smell is greater than a human. They're able to do stuff with their nose a whole lot better than maybe we can do with our eyes."

Charlie is one of 4 K-9's at the Springfield Police Department. Officer Karnes and Charlie typically hit the streets at night, but they are always on standby. " A city our size, having four K-9's can be tough."

But thanks to a grant from the Springfield Police Foundation, the department can add two more dogs to the force. Betsy Miller the President of the Springfield Police Foundation presented a check for $16,000 to the Department. " They are the ones that are running in when everyone else is running out. So whatever we can do to make their jobs easier and safer, that's what we're here to do," says Miller.

Charlie is trained to do so much more than to sit and stay. K-9 handlers go through three months of training to learn how to better control their four-legged partner. " We'll use the dog for tracking suspects that run from houses, vehicles or even robbery suspects, we'll track them," says Karnes. " We'll do building searches if it's not safe enough to send an officer in first, we'll put the dog in first in what we call a soft clear. We'll call them out then we'll go in as a team and clear the residence."

More dogs, like Charlie on the job, it's the kind of investment Springfield's Police Foundation hopes will make everyone a little safer in the long run.

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