Special care taken to protect K-9 officers as heat rises - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Special care taken to protect K-9 officers as heat rises

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A hot car can be deadly for a K-9 officer, so special precautions are taken. (Source: KLTV staff) A hot car can be deadly for a K-9 officer, so special precautions are taken. (Source: KLTV staff)

As the temperature rises, cars become deadly for people and animals alike.

There are standards for law enforcement when it comes to taking care of K-9 units, and keeping them in safe conditions while in K-9 patrol units. Law enforcement is aware of the effects of blistering summer heat on a critical element of their force.

"These K-9 dogs are an investment costing thousands of dollars, so we want to keep them healthy and keep them alive," says Longview police K-9 handler Nikki Williams.

With duties including narcotics detection and tracking, the dogs have to be kept in top condition, and that means not letting them overheat in a car. In summer heat, the inside of a car can superheat in just a few minutes, but most law enforcement agencies that have K-9's have a fail-safe.

"Our cars have what we call the 'hot dog system.' It's a heat monitoring system that measures the temperatures when the dog is in the car," says Longview police K-9 handler Anthony Minyard.

"Every kennel car is equipped with some kind of heat alarm system. We actually carry a remote on us at all times and it has the internal and exterior temperature on it," Williams says.

If the temperature inside the car exceeds 85 degrees, the windows automatically roll down , the horn blares and a fan comes on to blow the hot air out.

"We've got two K-9 units for the Tyler Police Department. Being in Texas, we have to make sure they are kept cool," says Tyler officer Don Martin.

Bonds between officer and K-9 are strong, and most consider the dogs part of their family.

"There’s accommodations made by the officers home for the dog to stay there; they care for them 24/7," Martin says.

Gregg County sheriff's deputies say each 'hot-dog' heat safety system for their units cost between $900 and $1,000 each.

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