LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Some of Metro's finest will be showing off their skills this weekend. The 23rd annual K-9 trials take place on Sunday. News 3's Denise Rosch shows us what we can expect and how the use of dogs in police departments has evolved.
At 4-years-old, Archie, a Belgian Malinois, is in his prime.
Archie is just one of some 35 dogs now on the roster with Metro's K9 unit.
“Good, bad or indifferent my days, he loves me the same. He's very tolerant of me,” said Archie’s partner and handler Sean Malia.
The duo have been practicing for a weekend competition that showcases dogs from all over the country. The K9 trials is just one way use of police dogs has changed over the years.
“Police dogs when they were first introduced were strictly patrol dogs,” said Lt. Jack Clements. "Then you saw dogs trained to find narcotics, now to find explosive materials and find cadavers."
Clements says the role of police dogs evolved even more after 9-11. Countries that never showed much interest in K9 units were suddenly buying up dogs at top prices realizing their worth when it comes to security detail.
“There's no way to replicate what a dog's nose can do, so they use them at airports, police departments, anywhere they want to have that presence,” Clements said.
The K9 unit's budget is $4.3 million a year. Most of that is taken up by salaries and benefits. K-9 calls for service is roughly $1,000 a month.
The trials are this Sunday at the Orleans Hotel-Casino. It's sponsored by "Friends for Las Vegas Police K9's" a non-profit that raises money for the long term care of retired police dogs.