The Pinal County K-9 Unit is a drug interdiction unit. The unit was created to be not only reactive to certain needs within the county but more importantly as a proactive unit using the added law enforcement tool of the canine. The K-9 Unit's main focus is drug interdiction which includes but is not limited to highways, neighborhoods and school drug interdiction as well as suspect locating and apprehensions. The K-9 Unit has also at times been tasked with conducting selective traffic enforcement in high traffic areas. The K-9 Unit provides a much needed officer safety tool by providing back up and assistance for the district deputies. The K-9 Team can search an area/building/vehicle for suspects or narcotics in a quicker, safer, more effective manner allowing for much better officer safety. Keeping the district deputies on the road minimizing down time while maximizing effectiveness.
The Pinal County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit consists of (7) deputies and (7) K-9s and is headed by Sgt. Dave Hausman. Four of the teams are dual purpose K-9 teams that perform narcotic searches as well as suspect searches and apprehensions. The sixth K-9 team is a single purpose K-9 team that is assigned to the adult detention facility to detect narcotic contraband from coming into the facility. The Pinal County Sheriff's K-9 Teams are trained in-house. Upon completing the training each team is then certified by two National Organizations prior to working the road as a team.
The K-9 Unit additionally provides the Sheriff's Office with a positive public relations tool. Each K-9 Team has conducted numerous public demonstrations throughout the County for many different groups and organizations. In an effort to provide the school students with a safe learning environment the Pinal County Sheriff's K-9 Unit has been requested and conducted more successful school drug searches than any other agency in the State.
During 2011 members of the unit were directly responsible for seizing 12,964 lbs. of Marijuana, 225 lbs. of Methamphetamine, 16 grams of Cocaine, 188 lbs. of Heroin, 11 pills of Ecstasy and 161 drug paraphernalia items.
1 in 1,100 police officers will be involved in a gunfight in their career. 1 in 100 K-9 handlers will be involved in a gunfight over an 8-year period.