Canine officer joins ASU Police Department

<p>The newest member of the ASU Police Department elicits appreciative comments everywhere she goes, even though she’s a veteran of time spent behind bars who only works for kibbles.</p><separator></separator><p>“Disney is the first canine officer to join the force,&quot; says <st1:personname w:st="on">John Pickens</st1:personname>, ASU Police Department Chief. &quot;Bringing an explosives dog on board expands the tools available to the ASU Police Department to ensure a safe and secure environment for students, faculty and staff at the university’s four campuses.” </p><separator></separator><p>Disney is a 1-and-a-half-year-old yellow Labrador retriever who can distinguish approximately 19,000 scents, among them flash powders, commercial explosives, TNT and military ordnance. Her inventory of scents is constantly updated as new materials are developed.</p><separator></separator><o:p></o:p>“She has senses that you or I can only dream about. She knows how to separate those scents into what she needs to find,” says D. Parker Dunwoody, Disney’s handler and a detective in the ASU Police Department Criminal Investigations Unit.  <o:p> </o:p><p>Disney’s nose performed its magic during a recent training exercise on campus where she correctly hit on all of the scents that were put out for her to find. She trains in a variety of places to become comfortable in varied locations.</p><separator></separator>“That way the dog gets used to different environments,” Dunwoody says.  <o:p></o:p><p>Disney started her stint with the ASU force this year after undergoing 10 weeks of explosives/handler training at the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms canine training center with Dunwoody and six weeks of training prior to that to imprint explosive scents in her memory.</p><separator></separator>Although it might appear that Disney has a checkered past, her time spent behind bars was part of her initial training when she was placed with an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Danbury</st1:city>, <st1:state w:st="on">Conn.</st1:state></st1:place>, where she learned basic obedience. The program has a dual goal of training the dog and giving inmates a purpose in life.  <o:p></o:p><p>“It gives them a chance to give back to society and it gives them something to look forward to,” Dunwoody says.</p><separator></separator>When Dunwoody was paired with Disney, the inmate who cared for her sent him a 100-page scrapbook that detailed Disney’s time in prison including photos and her baby teeth.  <o:p></o:p><p>“The woman who took care of her really loved Disney,” Dunwoody says.</p><separator></separator>It’s a feeling that’s mutual. Members of the ASU community are amazed at times to see a dog on campus. And students, faculty and staff tend to admire her from afar since she’s a working dog.  <o:p></o:p><p>“There’s a lot of interest,” Dunwoody says. “She loves everybody.”</p><separator></separator>Dunwoody has also formed a close bond with “Miss Disney,” as he affectionately calls her. He decided to go into law enforcement so he could handle a dog one day. He has worked previously with Tempe Police Department canines, including dressing in a padded suit and letting a police dog attack him.  <o:p></o:p><p>That was a cathartic experience for the detective who had been attacked by a German shepherd when he was 3 years old. Even that episode didn’t diminish his love for dogs.</p><separator></separator><p>“There’s nothing better than going to work with your best friend,” Dunwoody says.</p><separator></separator>A typical day with Disney starts with Dunwoody setting up training aids – materials with explosive scents – and running a session where she finds all of the aids. Disney sits when she identifies an explosive and Dunwoody rewards her with food. Since she only eats when she’s training, Disney has sessions twice per day.  <o:p></o:p><p>“She’s a food-reward dog,” Dunwoody says. “I train with her seven days a week.”</p><separator></separator>Disney often works with other ATF-trained explosives dogs and their handlers. She sniffs Sun Devil Stadium before events and searches venues when high-profile visitors come to campus. She’ll also be called upon to assist other agencies when an explosives dog is needed.  <o:p></o:p><p>“I also train a lot with the Tempe Police Department,” Dunwoody says.</p><separator></separator>She rides in style in the back seat of a police canine car that is equipped with sensors that set off the siren and lights if it gets too hot in the car. Fans at both rear windows kick on and Dunwoody is paged if the temperature climbs in the vehicle.  <o:p></o:p>During her leisure time at home with Dunwoody, she’s just another member of the family who frolics with her animal companions –  a cat and another dog – when she’s not on duty.<o:p></o:p>“Everybody loves her,” he says.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p></p>