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New canine officer is official member of ASU Police

November 23, 2009

Every dog has at least one special day, and ASU’s new canine police officer had hers when she was sworn in as an official member of the department.

Disney received a doggie-sized badge and an identification tag that her handler, Parker Dunwoody, an ASU Police Department detective, assumed custody of after the yellow Labrador retriever was asked to protect the United States Constitution during the ceremony.  

ASU’s Police Department first became interested in acquiring a canine in 2001. Disney came on board earlier this year after she and Dunwoody completed 10 weeks of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) training. She also spent six weeks becoming proficient in recognizing approximately 19,000 explosive scents.

Canine officers that are trained to detect explosives have a responsibility to protect the public including the students on campuses in Arizona, said William D. Newell, ATF Phoenix Field Division's special agent in charge. 

“There’s a long waiting list around the country (for dogs),” Newell said.

Disney is a star around campus where she attracts attention from students, faculty and staff. It also takes the canine and her handler quite a while at times to get through the police station.  

“Everybody stops and plays with Disney,” said John Pickens, chief of the ASU Police Department.

Disney doesn’t just work the four ASU campuses. She’s on call to work other events where she may be needed such as a U2 and Black Eyed Peas concert where former President Bill Clinton was in attendance.  

Dunwoody spoke at the ceremony about working every day with his best friend.

“This is why I got into law enforcement,” Dunwoody said. “It’s the best thing when you’re a dog person.”