K-9 Unit


The Canine Unit supports the Patrol Division with the application of police service dogs trained in tracking, apprehension, and narcotics detection, in order to enhance officer safety, capture of suspects, and assist in evidence collection.

About the Unit

The Lynnwood Police Department has four certified K-9 teams.  Each officer must have an outstanding working knowledge of federal and state law and current case law.  The dogs all live at home with their handlers and are subject to call out at a moments notice.  The teams work four 10 hour shifts a week with an overlapping day for training.  They all undergo 400 hours of initial training for tracking with an additional 16 hours a month as maintenance training.  Every year the teams are tested to ensure they are in compliance with state law.  For teams who are also training in narcotics they undergo an additional 200 hour course with another 16 hours of monthly training. 

The dog's service life is typically between 7 and 9 years.  It has been a tradition at LPD for the handler to buy back the dog from the City for $1 after they retire so they can spend their final days at home with their family.

Our unit is strongly supported by our community through donations.  Supporters have provided funds for ballistic vests for the dogs, leashes, bowls, harnesses, training, and even the dogs themselves.

If you are interested in donating look for the next K-9 Fundraising Event or contact the Lynnwood Police Department directly. 


How are Officers Selected?

Each officer applying for a position in the K-9 unit must have a minimum of two years patrol work experience after probation unless the time is waived by the Chief of Police.  They must pass an oral board consisting of current and former handlers and command staff, pass a physical test, and must demonstrate outstanding decision making skills.

How are the Dogs Selected?

Dogs are purchased from breeders or vendors that import dogs specifically for police work.  Lynnwood's master handlers screen dogs to find the right match for a new handler.  Each dog must undergo a series of tests to determine skill level and scent work ability.  The dogs must be self-right, eager to please, and have outstanding scenting ability.  Once the dogs are selected they are immediately placed with their handler to begin bonding.

What Areas are the Dogs Trained in?

There are two types of certifications for tracking: Patrol Generalists and Master Handler.  Generalist teams must meet obedience, apprehension and tracking standards set forth by the state.  A higher set of standards, which far exceed the state requirements, are set for a master handler certification.  Currently all four of our K-9 teams have successfully passed the master handler requirements.

Two of our four teams are cross trained in narcotics, specifically in the odors of Heroin, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Ecstasy.  Our dogs were among the first in the state to exclude marijuana as a trained odor. 

Our teams certify yearly which is twice as often as required.  They perform this certification in house once a quarter to demonstrate a higher standard.  As well, each year they are evaluated by master trainers from other agencies.