More police K-9s sniffing out crime in central Ohio

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COLUMBUS -- Hilliard police say their newest police officer is now part of a canine unit that works around the clock. K-9 Officer Jawaak, a Belgian Malinois, started on the force in October 2017.

“Now we have K-9 units on all three shifts,” said Lt. Doug Lightfoot with Hilliard Police. “We started being more proactive and more successful in our seizures.”

Hilliard police say Officer Jawaak is a “dual-purpose” dog, meaning he is trained in criminal apprehension, tracking and narcotic detection. When he alerts his handler, Officer Dustin Kaiers, Jawaak gets a reward – a purple rubber ball.

“Dogs help us establish probable cause to actually enter a vehicle,” said Lt. Lightfoot. “We have definitely found items stolen from vehicles, mainly unlocked vehicles, in cars where people have had drugs or drug paraphernalia.”

CrimeTracker 10 took a closer look at crime fighting canines and their effect in keeping neighborhoods safe. Hilliard police said on average, the Division’s K-9 unit assists in 60 arrests per year, per team. Each team is used about 150 times a year through patrols and also building searches at schools to keep them drug-free.

Learn more about Hilliard's K-9 unit.

Grove City Police

Police in Grove City say they have one K-9 unit. Officer Max started in 2015 and was paired with Officer Brian Kitko. Together, the team has been deployed more than 661 times, making 340 arrests. Max has helped sniff out various drugs, such as heroin, marijuana, crack, meth and fentanyl.

Learn more about Grove City's K-9 unit.

Columbus Police

The Columbus Division of Police has nine canine teams that cover the Capital City. They perform building searches, recover stolen cars and handguns, and patrols. In 2017, CPD’s K-9 unit took down more than $2 million of illegal drugs.

Learn more about Columbus' K-9 unit.

Franklin County

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office has 13 canine teams, which include explosive-trained dogs and two therapy dogs named Mattis and Stark. The FCSO also has a unique electronic sniffing canine named Officer Ruger. Ruger can sniff out hidden SD cards, laptops and smartphones that may contain evidence when it comes to investigations involving child pornography.

Westerville Police

Westerville police utilizes two canines in the city named Fiji and Sam. They are narcotics-trained and patrol-trained. In 2016 and 2017, Officers Fiji and Sam were used more than 200 times combined each year.

Learn more about Westerville’s K-9 Unit.

Ohio State Highway Patrol

The Ohio State Highway patrol has 35 canine teams that cover the entire Buckeye State. Two of the K-9s are bomb dogs, which you’ll often see at Ohio State football games at Ohio Stadium or the Ohio State Fair in the summer. These K-9s have helped stop criminal activity across the state and often assist agencies from local to federal.