Officer Roberts’ K-9 companions show off specialized training

Samuel Crosby

Photo by William WheatleyOfficer Roberts poses with her dogs, Buddy and Aaron, at The Harbinger  pet photoshoot. School Resource Officer, Michael Snyder, invited her to attend the event. Her dogs demonstrated their tracking skills in the school’s front circle.
Photo by William Wheatley
Officer Roberts poses with her dogs, Buddy and Aaron, at The Harbinger pet photoshoot. School Resource Officer, Michael Snyder, invited her to attend the event. Her dogs demonstrated their tracking skills in the school’s front circle.

     Imagine this. You’re running from the cops, and you hide under a porch. Suddenly you hear the distant sound of a dog barking slowly getting closer. BOOM! The dog finds you and is going ballistic. Would you rather be chased by a dog or by a human?

     Officer Roberts of the Baltimore County Police Department works with two very unique tools. Their names are Aaron and Buddy. Aaron is a male German Shepherd in his final year of being a patrol dog, specializing in narcotics and search. His partner, Buddy, is a male Chocolate Lab that specializes in explosives and firearms. “They have been in my life for eight years. I have definitely bonded with them,” said Officer Roberts.

     Both K-9 units went through 18 weeks of basic training then eight weeks of specialized training. They still go twice a month to refine their skills. On top of all this, they must certify twice a year, every year they are in service. Officer Roberts is in the process of retiring Aaron. “I get first option to keep him, if I’d like. There is no way I would be able to send him out and say, ‘Goodbye! You’re retired!’’ she said. The county checks-up on all K-9 units at around the age of nine years old. They decide when the K-9’s are at their point of retirement.

     Letting go of anything is hard, especially if you are close to it. Unlike a regular job, where you leave your dog in the morning and come home to it at night, Officer Roberts spends 24/7 with these animals. “I see these dogs more than I see my family. They are a huge part of my life,” she said. “Their personality is unlike any other. They want to make me happy which makes them a great partner.”

     K-9 units are a major help to police officers. They get in spaces others can’t, they are fast, and most importantly, their sense of smell is outstanding. “K-9s bring a lot to the table. I can’t search an entire wooded area and be able to find someone as fast as a K-9. I could walk right over top of a person and not even notice,” said Officer Roberts. “I love working with the dogs. Some people look at them as just a piece of equipment. That is true; he is an issued piece of equipment, but they’re not like a gun or a flashlight. They bring so much more to the table then a tool ever will.”