The K-9 Unit is a part of the Uniform Patrol Division. K-9 handlers are chosen from the Patrol Division and then trained for 14 weeks with their new partner to meet requirements to be a street team. Generally, the Pensacola Police Department purchases dogs from Europe that have already obedience trained. The dogs learn to understand German commands, and must show proficiency in all areas in order to be certified by the U. S Police K-9 Association (USPCA) and Florida standards.
The Pensacola Police K-9 Unit currently uses nine K-9 teams. One team is certified in drug detection only, while seven teams are dual certified in patrol work (tracking and apprehension) and one in bomb/explosives detection. The bomb/explosives detection team completes an additional eight to nine weeks of cross training in bomb/explosive detection. Pensacola Police Officer James Parsons is a K-9 handler and coordinates operation of the K-9 Unit.
Pensacola Police Department K-9 teams are trained in voice and hand signal obedience, building searches, tracking, article searches, pursuit/apprehension techniques, and narcotics detection. The teams are credited with making hundreds of arrests annually and answering thousands of calls for service.
Each K-9 team is tested semi-annually for proficiency to meet the standards of the USPCA in addition to regularly scheduled eight hours of maintenance training monthly.