The MSU Police K-9 Unit began in 1984 when an officer and dog were sent to Baltimore, Maryland to train with the Baltimore Police Department for 16 weeks. The Baltimore Police Department was selected for this original training because it was the only federally certified training center in the United States, and it offered an Instructor Training Course in addition to the Basic K-9 Training Course. At the end of the training the officer was able to train additional K-9 teams here at MSU.
Upon returning from Baltimore two additional K-9 teams were trained for the MSU Police Department. These K-9 teams were immediately tested when they were called upon to track on two high profile cases involving a homicide of a East Lansing Police Officer and an attempted murder in Spartan Village on the MSU Campus. Both tracks assisted in the apprehension of suspects, and the credibility of the K-9 Unit was established.
Since 1984 the MSU K-9 Unit has trained K-9 teams for the Lansing Police Department, East Lansing Police Department, Meridian Township Police Department, Ingham County Sheriff Office, Eaton County Sheriff Department and Flint Police Department. In addition, MSU K-9 teams have been sent to assist other police agencies on calls ranging from lost children to armed robberies and homicides.
Currently the department has eight K-9 teams assigned to the patrol division. All of the teams are trained as patrol dogs with the ability to track suspects or lost persons, make apprehensions, locate evidence or other property, and search buildings. In addition, three teams are cross trained to locate explosives and two teams are trained to locate narcotics. With several Presidential visits over the last few years, as well as numerous other dignitaries that visit the campus, the explosive teams have been used extensively. They also provide assistance to other local agencies.
The narcotic teams are used to check vehicles on traffic stops, odor investigations in residence halls, or assist on search warrants. The ability of these dogs to locate hidden narcotics has made them invaluable in this type of investigation.