With their noses, teeth and intimidation, crime "biting" K-9 units are a vital part keeping communities safe. What does it take to be top dog in Monroe Police's K-9 unit?
The dogs are imported from Brussels, and valued around 12 thousand dollars each. Monroe's team of Belgium Malinois goes through two years of vigorous training. Each command learned in Dutch.
Twenty-year K-9 officer Sergeant James Marlow explains the language barrier."It's a lot easier for us to learn the commands they know then try to retrain the dog," he said.
The dog's noses are trained to sniff out drugs and trails left by hiding criminals.
"It's much safer to send a dog into a dark building when someone is hiding and has the tactical advantage. The dog effectively could locate him," says Marlow.
Each suspect is given three warnings, after that police release the dogs to take down the criminal with a fiery bite.
No matter how bad the dog wants their bite, they are also taught to obey their handlers without hesitation. A "recall" command is given and the canine will stop pursuit. And they will not take commands from just anyone, only their human partners.
After six years on the streets, Pera's handler, Mike Plummer knows what her favorite part of her job is.
"She really enjoys the bite work," says Plummer.
Newest to join the K-9 patrols, Duko and his partner Kwasic Heckard. They were certified last week.
"When he gets out of the car, he already knows what he wants to do. His nose is to the ground. He's just a working dog," describes Heckard.
Seasoned veterans Bruno & Sergeant Marlow completes Monroe's K-9 team. Each duo bound through training and countless hours on the job.
"I spend more time with him than my family. My wife says it all the time," says Heckard.
They may be tough at work, but these dogs are easy going pets at home.
"She likes the play, she likes to play with the kids at the house," says Plummer.
When their service is done, these four-legged officers are honored just like their human companions.
Last year, officers Mies and Robby were honored at this memorial in Monroe for their service. The dogs can retire too, most around the age of ten.
Each retreating to a life of well deserved: rest, relaxation, belly rubs, and treats
"They are apart of the family," says Marlow.
The most recent retirees from the force are Rosco and Jerry in 2011.
Monroe police says they hope to add more K-9s to the unit overtime.