With a sprint and then a fierce run upon command, several Shawnee police dogs took a bite out of their handlers during demonstration training exercises at a monthly Sentinel meeting.

With a sprint and then a fierce run upon command, several Shawnee police dogs took a bite out of their handlers during demonstration training exercises at a monthly Sentinel meeting.

Sentinels, who are volunteers for the police department, saw firsthand how officers and their K-9 partners work together to apprehend a suspect.

And while the K-9 handlers wore protective gear to prevent the dog’s bite from puncturing their skin, a fleeing suspect wouldn’t have that luxury.

Meeting inside the new, fenced K-9 area of the Shawnee police firing range, K-9 handlers and the dogs were the highlight of the meeting. The department currently has five K-9 handlers, and a sixth is joining that team soon.

Lt. Rick Greenland works with Zico, while Sgt. John Goss is partnered with Rambo. Cpl. Steve Hudgins works with Upier and Cpl. Kevin Hughey’s K-9 partner is Misho. Cpl. David Gonzales is paired up with Szulten, and the newest K-9 handler to the join the team, Officer Austin Bizzell, will work with Kulley.

The dogs stay with their handlers 24 hours a day so they go home and have off-duty days just like the officers.

The two are a team.

“If a dog and handler click, it’s a good match,” Hudgins said.

He explained K-9 patrol protocols to the group, including how the dogs are helpful in traffic stops.

If the dog goes over the exterior of a car and alerts, Hudgins said that is probable cause for officers to search that vehicle for drugs.

The dogs also help clear buildings in case of a burglary and also serve as tracking dogs.

The dogs will be training next week on the department’s new K-9 agility course.

Watch for updates.