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Citizen's Police Academy: Week 6

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- In this week's edition of the Citizen's Police Academy, we got a closer look at the Cedar Rapids Police Department's K-9 unit. We learned a K-9 can go from man's best friend to a criminal's worst enemy in just seconds.

'Cooper' is a K-9 with CRPD. His human partner, Officer Shawn Hall, says Cooper's life is essentially one big game with big rewards - from tennis balls to bones

"It's nothing personal, they're not malicious, they're not vicious," Hall says.

The objective of Cooper's 'game' is to find what the officers want and need them to, using a sense of smell that is thousands of times more sensitive than ours.

That skill was on display for the first activity.

Officer Hall placed cotton balls around the room; each one had previously been stored with marijuana - giving them the faint smell of the drug.

He then brought Cooper in, who used his sense of smell to find all of the cotton balls with relative ease.

Cooper and other K-9s like him excel at finding drugs, but they're also good at taking down suspects.

Officer Hall demonstrated that with a bite sleeve and public safety spokesman Greg Buelow. Cooper went after the sleeve when given the command, and wouldn't let go until the sleeve was off.

As we mentioned before, it's all fun and games to Cooper, but his role within the department is serious.

"Hopefully they don't have to be used often, but if they do, they're a great tool in protecting the lives of the police officer and the public." Buelow says.

Next week we switch gears, and talk about the internet crimes against children unit. We'll share a wealth of information all parents out there may want to know.
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