Wicomico County Sheriff's Office

K-9 Division

General Information About Police Dogs

Cpl Ashley with Drako
k9 photo opp

A police dog is a dog that is trained specifically to assist police and similar law-enforcement personnel with their work. They can also be known as a K-9 unit (a homophone for canine), this is especially prevalent in the United States. The term is sometimes associated with German Shepherd dogs because of the long history of the use of the German Shepherd by the police and military for public order enforcement (and some forces use German Shepherds exclusively). In many jurisdictions, including Maryland, the intentional injury or killing of a police dog is a felony, subjecting the perpetrator to far harsher penalties than the statutes embody in local animal cruelty laws. In Maryland, an assault on a police dog carries the same penalties, and is prosecuted in much the same manner, as injury or assault on a police officer. This is because the police dog in Maryland is considered to be a police officer.

DFC Lewis with K-9 Rookie
K-9 Rookie taking a break

Most often, police dog refers to a dog who has been trained to guard their handler, and to find, chase, or stop a fleeing suspect. Most are trained to enjoy their work, with chasing and grabbing introduced to them as tricks or games that can be played only when the handler (a police officer) gives the appropriate command. The dog's goal is not to bite to cause injury; it is to grab and hold on to the suspect at all costs, which can cause severe injury to the suspect in the process. This means that the dog grabs hard, and a fleeing suspect can be bitten and severely injured when attempting to avoid or fight off a dog. Most handlers, if possible, give the suspect a verbal warning that the dog will be set loose if they do not immediately surrender, this is a often sufficient enough deterrent that the dog is not needed. Most of these dogs live in their handlers' homes and interact with their family and friends on a regular basis to ensure that they remain social and pleasant animals.A police dog and handler train and work as a team, because they must trust each other and understand each other completely when working in stressful, even dangerous, and often rapidly changing situations. Police dog teams have been accused of using excessive force in some cases, so it is critical that the human be able to manage a difficult situation wisely, to use the trained dog only as appropriate, and to be able to control the dog completely so that the dog can be called off instantly when the situation warrants.

Our Police Dogs

K-9 Brune
K-9 Brune ready to patrol

The Wicomico County Sheriff's Office K-9 Division assist Law Enforcement Officers from the Maryland State Police, Salisbury Police Dept., Fruitland Police Dept., Delmar Police Dept., Worcester Co. Sheriff's Office, Wicomico Co. Narcotics Task Force and the Dorchester Co. Narcotics Task Force. The K-9 team consists of seven deputies and seven German Shepherds Malinois cross; "Rookie", "Brune", "Uke", "Blech", "Diablo", "Rizzo" and "Drako&quot. The K-9 team assists allied agencies in narcotics scans, searches (buildings, areas, articles), tracks, demonstrations (public relations), property checks (foot patrols) and criminal apprehensions.  


There are several different reasons why we, and other agencies, operate dogs. These include:

K-9 Blech hometown fun
K-9 Blech hometown fun
K-9 Rookie
K-9 Drako taking the oath

Common Misconceptions About Police Dogs

K-9 Blech bite
K-9 Rizzo loves to play fetch