K-9 units are becoming an integral part of law enforcement agencies.
Woodbury County Law Enforcement, Monona County Law Enforcement and Le Mars Police K-9 units went through skills training for their dogs at the Prairie Police Training Center.
Dogs have more than a hundred million scent glands, and law enforcement agencies are using this to their advantage.
"Police dogs are used for anything from narcotics detection, to suspect searches, not only do they track suspects from different crimes but they have been known to track missing children, elderly people who have wandered away from home anything that has laid a scent trail," said Nick Bauerly, Monona County Sheriff Department.
K-9 units have to go through more than 1,000 hours of training to be certified, and the training doesn't stop there. The dogs go through about 4 hours of training a week, equaling up to about 16 hours a month.
Not all dogs are cut out to be a police dog. Along with a keen sense of smell, they have to be smart, strong and aggressive. If they meet this criteria, they can be a huge benefit and savings to law enforcement.
"They save us a lot of time and we would have to take a lot of man hours to look for those articles, we can do it with one dog and a fraction of the time," said Sgt. Jim Bauerly, Woodbury County Sheriff Department.
Male dogs are usually preferred for K-9 units. Malinois, Shepherds and Labradors are among the top breeds of preferred K-9 dogs.