he St. Charles Sheriff’s Office Canine Unit is a sub-section of the patrol division. The unit is comprised of three officers who handle 6 canines.
The canine team’s primary function is to assist members of the Sheriff’s Office in apprehending dangerous suspects and to create a safe environment for the public and the Deputies that proudly serve. A canine has up to 300 million scent receptors in the nose versus 5 million in humans. That, along with their acute hearing, makes the K-9 a vital asset to the Sheriff’s Office and the community they serve.
The Canine Unit is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond and assist patrol operations, detective functions as well as SWAT missions. In addition to assisting in apprehending dangerous suspects and protecting the handler, a Police Canine is often called upon to help locate narcotics or evidence such as a weapon or other items either discarded or hidden by suspects.
When not working, the K-9 lives at home with the handler. This is beneficial for both the canine and the handler as it strengthens the bond between them. The handler cares for the canine on a day to day basis in regards to feeding, cleaning, exercise, medical care, training, and socializing. This also enables the Canine Team to respond to a critical incident call with a prompt response time.
In St. Charles Parish, police canines are commissioned, and protected under Louisiana Statute 14:102.8 – Injuring or killing of a police animal – a felony which is punishable by imprisonment and fines. This law also states that the convicted person must make restitution to the agency suffering a financial loss due to death or injury of a police animal.