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Police Department

Canine (K-9) Section

The Metro-Nashville Police Department Canine Section was established in 1972 with approximately 6 dog teams that specialized in criminal apprehension. Their responsibility grew when they added explosive detection in 1975 and then narcotic detection in 2004-2005. The MNPD Canine Section is one of the few K9 sections in the state that deploy dogs 24/7/365. This section is also one of the few sections in the state that train dog teams in house instead of contracting that responsibility to an outside agency/company.

The Metro Police Canine Unit consists of over 16 canine teams. The teams are trained in patrol work as well as being cross trained in narcotic or explosive odor detection. The Canine Unit is part of the Tactical Operations Section of the Special Operations Division. The Canine Unit is a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week unit.

The Metro Nashville Police Department evaluates and purchases dogs from vendors throughout the United States after being imported from Europe.

Those who wish to join the Canine Unit take part in a physical skills assessment as well as an oral interview. If chosen, each Officer is paired with a canine who will become their partner. Once they are paired together, the Officer and canine begin the bonding process. This starts with the canine living with the Officer at his/her residence. Then the training begins.

The canine teams go through a rigorous fourteen weeks patrol dog certification course. This course culminates with a test-certification process that meets the standards of the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA). The USPCA standards are some of the strictest in the country. This certification process is repeated once a year for the entire working life of the canine team. To maintain their proficiency, each Canine team participates in ten hours of patrol dog training per month throughout their careers.

Canine teams performing demonstration

The Metro Police Canine Unit utilizes the following breeds:

German Shepherd Belgian Malinois


The canine teams are trained at the Metro Police Canine Units USPCA nationally certified facility (one of only a few in the United States). Members of our training staff have completed the requirements and are all USPCA nationally certified trainers.

Metro Nashville Police Canine Teams are trained in house by our training staff. They are trained in voice and hand signal obedience, building searches for felons, felony tracking, article searches, pursuit/apprehension techniques as well as handler protection. Our canine teams make countless arrests and answer thousands of calls for service each year.

Once the Canine team has passed the patrol dog certification, they go through twelve weeks of odor detection training. The Canine Unit trains detector dogs for the purpose of locating either narcotics or explosives. The canines which are cross trained in explosive detection, assist in security sweeps for many large high profile events, as well as, responding to calls for suspicious items or packages. The teams that are cross trained in narcotic detection are utilized to search for drugs by all elements of the police department. Each canine team certifies annually to meet the continuing proficiency standards of the USPCA in addition to their regularly monthly scheduled ten hour patrol dog training sessions. The teams are very successful and their efforts have resulted in seizures of drugs, currency, and property.

canine agility training

canine hurdle jumping

canine broad jump

canine obedience training

canine handler protection exercise

canine readies for a search

canine apprehends during training

canine building search training

canine rewarded for finding narcotics during training

Member of the United States Police K9 Association

United States Police Canine Association Region 13

Interested in working with us? Find out more about becoming a police officer.