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Police Department


Canine (K-9) Unit

The Metro Police Canine Unit consists of over 18 teams. The teams are trained in patrol work as well as cross trained in narcotic or explosive odor detection. The Canine Unit is part of the Tactical Operations Section of the Special Operations Division.

Canine handlers are generally chosen from patrol and then are trained with their dog for fourteen weeks to meet the requirements to be a certified street dog team. The Metro Nashville Police Department purchases their dogs from vendors throughout the United States after being imported from Europe. The canine teams train for fourteen weeks or a minimum of 490 hours, in order to meet the standards set forth by the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA).

Metro Nashville Police Canine Teams are trained in voice and hand signal obedience, building searches for felons, man-tracking, article searches, and pursuit/apprehension techniques. Our canine teams make hundreds of arrests and answer thousands of calls for service each year.

Group photo of canine officers

Once the team has passed their test for patrol dog work they are trained in odor detection techniques. 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 is tested annually to meet the continuing proficiency standards of the USPCA in addition to their regularly monthly scheduled eight hour training sessions. The teams are very successful and their efforts have resulted in seizures of drugs, currency, and property with a value well over ten million dollars.

The Canine Unit uses:

German Shepherds
German Shepherd

Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois

Labrador Retrievers
Labrador Retriever


The canines are trained at the Metro Police Canine Facility by USPCA nationally certified trainers. After the fourteen week of patrol training and the tenth week of detector training, the teams are ready to be placed into service.

Canine in training

Canine in training

Canine in training

The patrol canine teams are used to locate dangerous suspects, search for evidence, and clear buildings.

Canine teams used to search

The detector canines are used to locate drugs or conduct security sweeps for explosives.

Detector canines used in searches

Canine in training

Canine used to located drugs

Canine and officer