The Nigerian Air Force K-9 unit is a specialized group of NAF officers who use service dogs (Specially trained dogs) to perform the responsibilities of a law enforcement agent.
In all cases the NAF personnel and the dog need to work in perfect coordination. Therefore, continuous training is also an important part of the life in the K-9 unit.
As part of its continued efforts to deal with contemporary security challenges, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) have continued to conduct series of trainings for it's personnel in the K-9 unit.
The specialist trainings includes explosive and narcotic substance detection, waterman-ship, navigation, rappelling and other special terrain exercises, meant to equip operatives with the skills necessary to execute a variety of missions alongside the NAF Special Forces (SF). Through these exercises, K-9 Units will also become critical components of SF Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), where their skills would be used to rescue downed aircrew in conflict zones and other high-risk environments.
The attendance of the advanced dog handlers’ training has further boosted the capacity of the affected NAF personnel and also exposed them to international best practices in the use of dogs for security purposes.
These special operations dogs are trained for maximum versatility, and will also likely be deployed to support the search and rescue efforts of emergency responders in disaster-relief situations in the West Africa region.
The duties that a NAF K-9 officer and his dog partner perform can be basically divided into two groups:
1- General law enforcement duties
The general duties mean that the dog accompanies his handler on traffic stops or when responding to calls or emergencies. The canine assists in apprehending suspects and in all other public engagements related to law enforcement.
2- Specialized tasks
The K-9 unit is also responsible for carrying out more specific jobs, where the leading role is performed by the specially trained dog. Those tasks include: detecting illegal substances, chemicals or explosives; identify individuals who were in contact with such illicit substances; track and rescue kidnapped or missing persons; locate buried or submerged bodies or human parts.
There are several breeds of dogs used in law enforcement to help with different tasks but the most common one used in the K-9 Unit is the German Shepherd. This dog is chosen because of its intelligence, strength and loyalty and great sense of hearing and smell. Other popular breeds are Bloodhound, Belgian Malinois, Doberman Pinscher and Labrador Retriever. The police dog quite often wears a bulletproof vest. In many jurisdictions there are strict penalties imposed on those who harm a canine member of a K-9 unit.
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