Dogs are a huge asset to any police department. They work hard, they’re good at what they do, and they ask for very little in return for their unyielding devotion. In fact, a canine partner will defend his human counterpart to the death, if necessary.
Vehicles designed for K-9 use have come long way since the time I worked with two incredibly intelligent dogs. The first vehicle I drove was a van donated to the department by a local telephone company. It was well-marked as a K-9 police vehicle, but it was top-heavy and didn’t handle well when driving at speeds above a snail’s pace. For safety, the dogs were transported inside a crate.
The next vehicle I drove was an older Crown Vic. The rear seat was removed and a special platform was designed and installed in its place. The open compartment provided the dogs a bit more freedom and space. (I transported one dog at a time, depending upon which of the two was needed at the time, narcotics or criminal apprehension/tracking). Today, many dogs are cross-trained to serve more than one function.
K-9 units today are much more sophisticated and they’re designed with the safety of the animal in mind. For example, each canine car or SUV is equipped with a specially designed area within the vehicle.
Rear compartment used to transport canines.
In addition, smart-systems, such as the the Hot-N-Pop, are installed in vehicles used to transport K-9’s.
Hot-N-Pop is a multi-use system that’s able to sense when the interior of the vehicle has become too hot for the dog, so it automatically rolls down the rear windows (windows have metal screens to prevent the dog from jumping out) and activates large window fans that bring in fresh air to help cool the dog. The Hot-N-Pop also activates the car’s emergency lights and horn, as well as sending a signal to a pager worn by the canine handler.
Window fans activate when the interior temperature is too high.
Another feature of the Hot-N-Pop is the automatic rear door opener. If the handler is in trouble and needs the assistance of his canine partner, he/she uses a remote control to open a rear car door, releasing the dog. Remotes are worn on the duty belt or carried in the officer’s pocket.
Once the dog is out of the car, trouble is normally and quickly a thing of the past.
Here’s a video showing how the Hot-N-Pop works. It’s also a brief tour inside the vehicle.
Next is a video detailing the use of the Hot-N-Pop system. There’s also a tour of the vehicle, where you can see how and where the officer placed the various tool of his trade.
*Thanks to the good folks over at crimescenewriter for prompting the idea for today’s article.