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Phoenix Police Department's K-9 unit getting new cameras to boost safety

Posted at 4:30 AM, Jul 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-17 08:20:44-04

Last year, the Phoenix Police Department said their teams of K-9s and their handlers were called to roughly 10,000 scenes. 

Every single day, they work the streets in 17 teams tasked with taking down dangerous suspects, drugs and more. 

"A K-9's mission is ultimately as a locating tool," explained Sgt. Richard Maiocco. "We use them to find what we can't see."

But, police handlers will soon be able to see a whole lot better with new technology that will give them a literal boost in their view. 

The Phoenix City Council approved roughly $30,000 for the department to spend on an 'attic camera.' It is a telescopic tool that allows an officer to look high up or in confined spaces. That way, themselves or their K-9 companions do not have to go into a risky situation with a suspect completely blind.

Police handlers also said they would benefit from seeing exactly how the dog is reacting inside one of those spaces. 

"You can see what kind of behavior changes that dogs is giving you and you can start making some, as a handler, you can start making some of those decisions as to whether you recall the dog, leave him in there," Sgt. Maiocco described. "It provides you the information that you otherwise wouldn't have."

This new technology comes roughly three months since the death of K-9 officer Bane. Bane was sent into a home to help capture a dangerous robbery suspect, but did not make it out alive.

"When we start pairing the technology up with the God-given abilities of the K-9 and the common sense of the officer... it's kind of a recipe for success, really," said Sgt. Maiocco. 

ABC15 asked the police department if these new camera purchases had anything to do with his death. They said no, but do believe these new cameras can make every member of their team a little bit safer. 

There is no word yet on exactly when these cameras will be put to use.