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K9 Police Car: Understanding Its Roles and Features

K9 police cars are more than just vehicles; they’re vital tools that enable law enforcement agencies to enhance their capabilities and provide specialized support. This article will take a closer look at the world of the K9 police car, it’s design, safety features and the critical role it plays in modern policing.

A police car with a dog sitting next to it in the snow.

The back seat kennel in a k9 police car

K9 police cars are meticulously designed to ensure the safety and comfort of police dogs. Most cars, trucks or SUV’s have the entire rear seat removed and replaced with a spacious kennel. 

These kennels do more than just look cool, they keep the police K9 secure in case of an accident and also keep the police officer’s furry partner in a separate space so he doesn’t distract the officer as he’s driving. 

The back seat kennel is crucial in keeping the police K9 secure during emergency driving. Manufacturers such as Havis, build these kennels out of heavy duty aluminum with no sharp edges exposed to ensure that if the K9 rubs against it they will not be harmed. 

The rear door panels are also removed and replaced with aluminum so the kennel is 360 degree secured. To top it off, a half inch heavy duty rubber mat provides a safe, comfortable barrier between the police K9 and the floor.

The back kennel area of a K9 police car.

Safety features

These K9 police cars are equipped with an array of safety features for both the dog and the handler. Police K9s spend most of their time in the police car while on duty. This brings significant risk as failing air conditioning or vehicle mechanics can create a significant risk for heat stroke. 

According to an article by the United States Police Canine Association, death by heat injury remains one of the leading causes of non-hostile death for police canines. So how are these police K9s kept safe? 

To start, temperature control systems such as heat alarms manufactured by AceK9 are installed. These alarms have inside sensors that monitor interior temperatures and vehicle battery voltage. If they detect an abnormality they first engage the vehicle horn to alarm, in an SOS pattern, to notify those around the car there is a problem. 

If no response is received and the internal temperature rises beyond the threshold they not only honk the horn but they automatically roll down the windows to the kennel and start a window fan to cool the police K9 down. 

While this is going on the officer is equipped with a pager to notify them if they are in a building or away from the police car that there is a problem.

The controls in a K9 police car.

Handler protection features

The K9 police car is also equipped with a system to deploy the handler’s K9 partner in the event backup is needed. These remote door opening systems are referred to as “door poppers” and can be life saving to the handler in the event of an emergency.

The police officer can quickly push a button on a small transmitter which will automatically open the kennel door and their police K9 partner will come running to find their handler. From there, the police dog can be instructed to apprehend a fugitive or engage a subject through bite work if the officer is involved in a physical altercation.

Storage features

K9 police cars are equipped with trunk storage features to hold the vast quantity of specialized gear that is necessary for K9 operations. Some of this gear can include harnesses, leashes, muzzles, GPS collars and handler protection training equipment such as a bite sleeve or suit. Our article about protection dog training goes into more detail about this equipment.

Some other items of importance included extra water, bowls and food in case the police K9 is deployed to a scene that could last several days. In 2015, a search for fugitives in Dannemora, New York utilizing police K9s lasted several weeks. 

The back of police car with K9 gear in it.

The role of police K9 cars

Overall, police K9 cars are designed to provide a safe, comfortable and functional environment for both the canine officers and their handlers. These specialized vehicles play a vital role in supporting law enforcement operations and maintaining the health and well-being of police dogs on duty.

Their specialized design, safety features and role in strengthening community bonds make them a symbol of dedication and service in the pursuit of public safety.