Three Arizona Department of Public Safety police dogs are testing out a new tracking systems that helps their handlers know where the dogs are and how they’re doing. The system incorporates GPS tracking and monitors the dogs’ core temperature, a serious concern where summer heat regularly breaks into the triple digits.
The three DPS dogs, Clif, GoGo and Nico, have been given tracking implants that, in conjunction with a smartphone app currently running on the Android platform, lets their handlers know where they are and how they’re doing.
Developed with technology firm Virtual Armor, the package runs about $6,000 per animal, including one year of tracking service.
The system not only helps officers track down their dogs if and when they need to let them off the leash but also if they have to leave them behind in a squad car for any period of time.
It also helps the handlers know when their dogs are overworked.
“With the high drive of the dog, he doesn’t want to stop,” said Officer Brian Greene to USA Today. “We need to pay attention so we don’t run him into the ground.”
After seeing his dog’s temperature spike more three degrees over his baseline, Greene knew it was time to call the dog back to his air-conditioned truck for a break.
Unfortunately the program was put into place after a K9 unit was euthanized following heat-related injuries sustained from being left alone too long in a police vehicle. With the system in place the chances of this happening again are significantly lessened.
As many as 15 to 18 working dogs die of heat-related injuries each year, and this package is intended to bring that number down as low as possible.
If this pilot program proves to protect the lives of police dogs and help prevent them from work-related injuries, expect to see it rolled out in greater numbers.