NAMPA, Idaho - At the Nampa Police Department's Public Safety Academy, I suited up in protective gear and learned firsthand how the K-9s bite is worse than its bark. Dogs are a critical part of the department. In 2016, K-9s were used more than 1,200. Police say one of the greatest benefits is that the dogs’ actions can't be used against them.
"At the end of the day, he's a tool and I'm going to use him to find drugs and find people that we're looking for -- suspects," said officer Brad Boster, a K-9 handler for the Nampa Police Department.
The Nampa Police Department currently has eight K-9 units, who know multiple tricks. Sniffing out drugs is their primary role, but their sensitive noses can also be used to find everything from cellphones to bombs. Three of the dogs are also trained to catch bad guys. Police say they'll use a dog when someone is posing a threat, fighting back or trying to run.
"A lot of times people give up. They see a dog. They see teeth, which is great. Nobody gets hurt and the case is easy to solve," said officer Boster.
Officer Boster trained his four- legged partner, Diesel, since he was a puppy. Nampa works to match a dog's personality with its handler’s, and every year they need to be recertified through the state. Brad and Diesel train four hours a week. Their partnership is so strong, they can do it all with voice commands.
"He's out in the front where if we didn't have a dog that would have to be a person," said officer Boster.