K9s are true team players for Cocoa Police Department


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Last year, Brian De Los Santos was Kyra's handler during the Space Coast K-9 competition.

Viera Voice Photo

The Cocoa Police Department is fortunate enough to have four K9 teams that help in a variety of ways.

The department boasts a pair of impressive 6-year-old Germany Shepherds in Bear and Kable. Kable specializes in patrol work and drug detection.

“They’re fast,” said CPD officer Chris Hattaway of the K9s. “They're incredibly fast and they can go and stop and apprehend a criminal suspect that we need to take into custody.”

The department also has Kyra, the first female German Shepherd to be utilized by the CPD. Hattaway added that “she has already helped to find (illegal) drugs.”

“The German Shepherds have an innate ability to say ‘oh, there's a smell,’ ” Hattaway said.

Hattaway handles Copper, a black and tan Coonhound, who specializes in tracking and trailing missing people. Copper also is a therapy and public relations dog.

“Copper can detect smell that could be several hours old and, depending on circumstances, a day old,” Hattaway said.

But perhaps as much help as anything is the companionship that Copper brings to Hattaway’s side.

“You get to go everywhere with your partner and it’s your furry friend that cares about you that would go to the ends of the earth just to be with you,” Hattaway said. “I can tell you my job involves no stress when Copper’s around.”

Copper also knows when something is potentially awry. Hattaway had to drive back and forth to Daytona Beach, and he was tired and stressed.

“Copper put his head beside me the entire drive,” Hattaway said. “He could sense that ‘today, you're a little different. I’m just going to watch over you.’ He can smell that chemical change in your body when you're under stress.”

For information on CPD’s K9s, go to cocoafl.org.