"Ares brings his high energy and playful demeanor in assisting, patrol with building and area searches, evidence detection, tracking, and apprehension of suspects," Erickson said.
Before officially being recognized as a police dog, Ares underwent training for one month at a "K-9 school," Erickson said. There, Ares learned the skills including how to track suspects or missing people and how to clear an area or a building before officers enter it. And next year, Ares should have an additional talent under his collar: detecting narcotics.
Ares and the two other Mountain View K-9s also have weekly training sessions in which they go through specific scenarios that occurred while they were on patrol.
"Out on patrol it is great, because if I am looking for someone he is so alert and lets me know if he sees or hears something that I don't, which one day could save my life or my partner's," Erickson said.
Most of Ares' unique abilities can be attributed to something that humans have very few of: scent receptors. According to the American Kennel Club, many dogs, including German shepherds, have around 225 million scent receptors, whereas the average human only has 5 million.
"If patrol officers are searching an area for a possible suspect, the K-9s use their nose to try and pinpoint where the suspect may be hiding before the officers can even see the suspect," Erickson said.
Aside from his work in the department, Ares is ultimately an ordinary, fun-loving dog that has a habit of begging for attention and is confused by the vacuum cleaner.
"The best part about having Ares with me all the time is his expressions and playful behavior. He always makes me laugh and puts me in a better mood," Erickson said.
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