PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City Beach Police are adding several members to the force next week.
Six K-9s will be finishing training and joining their handlers in the field.
For the past 10 weeks, the dogs have been training in Dothan, Alabama before joining the Panama City Beach Police Department. Officers said the dogs have been learning how to detect drugs. They said the K-9’s sense of smell is 400 times better than humans.
“They can sense things on a level that we can’t sense them,” PCBPD Officer Chase Shankle said.
They’re also trained to apprehend non-cooperative suspects and track criminals.
“If anybody does decide to run, you’re not going to run far,” Shankle said.
The department bought the six dogs in January using a $73,000 grant. They’ll join the force next week.
Officers said the K-9s will be extremely helpful over spring break, with heavy tourist presences on the beach.
“We’ve had an uptick in people coming to the area,” Shankle said. “This is paradise on earth, being able to have more resources available to us for their specific work. It’s a great tool. It’s a great asset to have.”
Shankle said the presence of the dogs can immediately make people more cooperative.
“They’re going to be a great help and just the psychological deterrent part of it as well,” Shankle said. “So when people are coming down here and they’re wanting to participate in criminal activity, just the site of the dog itself, a lot of people say they don’t want to play around with it.”