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Valley Dog

There's a police K-9 in the Valley that will be kept safe thanks to a new heat-warning system that was installed in the patrol car...

Horst Hoefinger  |  Apr 6th 2009


There’s a police K-9 in the Valley that will be kept safe thanks to a new heat-warning system that was installed in the patrol car he rides in. The device detects his presence when left in the car, it costs about $900.

The new system was installed in Officer Aaron Brewer’s patrol car about a month ago to keep the Peoria Police Department’s new police dog, Havoc, safe in high desert temperatures.

A mat on the vehicle’s floor detects whether a dog is present. If a dog is in the vehicle when a handler removes the keys from the ignition, the system will keep the engine running. If the vehicle’s air-conditioning fails while the handler is away and the temperature rises above 90 degrees, a siren will go off.

Once the alarms sounds, the handler has about 3 minutes to get to the vehicle and disarm it before a message is sent to police dispatch. If the handler can’t be located, the dispatcher will send officers to the vehicle’s last known location.

Luckily Peoria has never lost a police dog due to overexposure, but in 2007 a Chandler K-9 died after his handler left him unattended in the back of his patrol SUV. Officer Brewer wants people to know even with the device he is the one with the primary responsibility for the safety and care of his K-9 partner. The unit simply provides additional safety in case he becomes distracted in the line of duty.

Last summer I posted too many stories about dogs who died from heat exposure after being left alone in cars. It’s so sad because these deaths are completely preventable. There is no reason any dog should die in this manner.

I hope other police departments around the country will follow Peoria’s example and look into this device. Police dogs put their life on the line to protect us, the least we can do is help protect them.

*K-9 Quimbo is part of Caulfield Investigations in FL