Knowing better our K-9 Units

By: Bryan Nawoschik

Campaign: Improve Safety by Being Informed 

The Norristown Police Department is defined by its members: sworn officers, professional staff, and two K9's that complete our workforce. 

The purpose of the K9 unit is primarily to increase safety for the Community and the Police Officers serving the community. Currently, we have two dual-purpose K9's; Officer Chris Narkin is partnered with K9 Nero; and, I am partnered with K9 Jerry.

K9's Nero and Jerry, both German Shepherds, were trained and purchased from Penn Vet in Philadelphia. They use their incredible sense of smell to aid us in every aspect of policing. From detection work, protection of life, and is an important part of the Norristown community. Both K9's are trained to detect the odor of narcotics as well as perform patrol functions such as tracking, bite work, building searches, evidence searches, and being ambassadors for the department through community engagement and at community events. 

Yes, our Police K9's are trained to bite to defend others or apprehend a violent criminal that poses a safety risk to the community, but these are very rare occurrences. The primary and most common jobs our K9's perform is detection work. Again, both K9's are dual purpose meaning they are trained to detect the odor of narcotics and perform patrol tasks by detecting human odor.  

Building searches during a commercial or residential burglary, for example, are a dangerous and daunting task for an officer. Having a K9 with the ability to detect and alert to a hiding suspect increases officer safety while decreasing the amount of time needed to complete the search. The same search method is also applied outside in an open field or wooded area where a dangerous suspect is known to be hiding.  Tracking, the most commonly used patrol function, allows us to follow the path of an on foot fleeing suspect or locate a missing child that may have walked away from home or school. Frequently items are discarded or dropped following a crime and conducting and article search utilizing the K9's can locate the objects by detecting the human odor left on them. 

Having a K9 for narcotics detection is an excellent tool in combating the possession and distribution of drugs that are causing harm to so many people. K9's can detect the odor of narcotics hidden inside vehicles, homes, or in outdoor locations that could easily be missed during a human search. 

Since the re-introduction of the K9 Unit in 2015, we have had success in tracking for suspects of violent crimes, locating evidence related to crimes, locating a missing child and numerous narcotic seizures. 

An important focus for our unit is to always interact with the community, whether at community events, walking the dogs on the block or at demonstrations. K9's Nero and Jerry are very social dogs who love meeting and socializing with people. They along with myself and Officer Narkin are enthusiastic about the work we do to increase the safety of our community and build better relationships. Officer Narkin and I are assigned to patrol platoons with our K9 partners. So please don't be shy when you see us, come to talk to us and meet Nero and Jerry. We want to engage with the community and listen to any concerns you may have. 

For anonymous complaints call our anonymous line 610-278-8477

Ofc. Bryan Nawoschik