Titus The Police Dog Needs To Find New Job


Titus, a K-9 dog, is losing his job at the Sequim Police Department in Washington state.

This four-year-old German shepherd is the sole police dog in the department’s K-9 unit. He is a drug dog and has been quite successful sniffing out narcotics for three years by his handler Mike Hill’s side.

But now, Titus needs to find a new job. In 2008, he will be declared city surplus.

The city needs a patrol dog and not a sniffer dog. The violent crime in the city has rapidly increased in the past few years, and the department needs a dog that can track suspected criminals and apprehend offenders instead of sniffing out drugs.

Titus will be transferred to another law enforcement agency in early 2008.

The Sequim Police Department will bring in a new dog with 640 hours of training. Hill said the amount of training the police dog will have will be almost as much as a full-time public officer. (Hill received 720 hours of training.)

Hill is sad to see his partner go because he said he spent more time with him than any other living being, including his family. Titus rides with him for 40-50 hours a week and goes home with him.

But he understands the city’s need for a different kind of police dog that will help reduce the crime rates.

The police department said they can’t train Titus now to be a different type of police dog because it would be extremely difficult to teach a four-year-old dog to be aggressive.

Source: Peninsula Daily News

8 Responses to “Titus The Police Dog Needs To Find New Job”

  1. nora says:

    What a sweet, sweet face on this German Shepherd. I also heard per a radio broadcast yesterday that Titus was classifed as not “Agressive enough”. I hope that he finds someone on the next force that loves and protects, and cherishes him as he deserves.

  2. Bridgett says:

    First question, How do you declare a dog surplus? Oh right, dogs are property not people.

    I hope this dog finds a good job with people who appreciate his abilities.

  3. kaefamily says:

    Titus will make a perfect campus security dog! What with kids using/dealing drugs on middle schools and high schools these days. Whom can we contact to propose such an option?

  4. highnote says:

    Great idea kaefamily! He really would make a great campus security dog and probably have a happier life! After so many hours of good work for this police department you would think they could call him something more then surplus. Makes me wonder about the officer that probably got assigned to him. You would think he would care about the dog. I know I would and would probably want him, but he is considered surplus so he will be pawned off to strangers that probably will consider him surplus too.

  5. Denise says:

    so why can’t this officer Hill adopt Titus if he has misgivings about the dog being discarded like a used-up piece of furniture.

  6. Moony says:

    If the city won’t allow him to adopt the dog, there’s nothing he can do about it, and they’d probably put a high price tag on him, too, with all his training, if they did.

    Since the dog has been in the news all over the state now, tho, I’m sure they’re getting flooded with adoption offers, and/or well aware they better give this dog to a good force.

    Ironic that the dog is being treated as property when federal (I think) law makes them equal to officers if they get injured or killed.

  7. Chief Robert Spinks says:

    Thanks for sharing your concerns.

    As the Chief of Police in Sequim, WA, I can tell we hit a nerve, and the recent news articles entitled: ‘Titus Losing His Job as Sequim Police K-9’, ‘Police dog Titus not tough enough for Sequim’, and other variations that have been picked up on the Internet have been less on credible information and heavy on an eye grabbing headline. Let me try and give you some additional information directly from the Sequim Police Department.

    First, if you are not aware of where Sequim, WA is, the community is a small city of 6,000 residents and a service population of about 23,000 that is located about 60 miles to the NW of Seattle on the Olympic Peninsula. The community is rural in nature and is 18 miles from the Olympic National Park and the lights of Victoria, B.C. can be seen across the waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait.

    The Sequim Police Department completed a 5-year strategic plan in 2006 which is a roadmap to guide the agency’s growth over the next half-decade. That document is available on-line at: www.ci.sequim.wa.us If we follow our Strategic Plan which was developed with a lot of input including the involvement of our K-9 Handlers, the agency will migrate to a generalist patrol dog unit with dogs coming on in 2008, 2009 and a 3rd unit in 2011. That is of course is tided to a projected increase in call load, necessity and as local resources allow.

    The ’surplus’ designation is merely a legal hoop the police department has to jump through in order to have the legal ability to transfer ownership of Titus to another law enforcement agency - should the department ultimately move toward a patrol dog program verse a straight narcotics canine, which is what Titus is. Please recognize that every member of the Sequim Police Department considers Titus to be much more than the legal definition of property or surplus might entail - he is a member of our Department and like some polcie officers who lateral or move to another department or retire, we are committed to doing the right thing for Titus and on his behalf.

    The Sequim Police Department is not going to dump Titus anywhere, as some inaccurate news stories have suggested. The department is committed to carefully evaluating the best option for Titus. Such a transfer may well involve one of our federal or tribal law enforcement police partners - this is why and the part of our challenge with Washington law that requires this process. Additionally, Washington state is unique in that we do not follow the guide of the US Supreme Court when it comes to search and seizure issues - the Washington State Supreme Court has interpreted the State Constitution to be more restrictive that the federal constitution when it comes to search and seizure issues. Consequently, the use of Titus has become much more restrictive because of our state case law. This means that our federal and tribal police partners have less restrictive search and seizure guidelines because they follow the case law established by the US Supreme Court. Sounds a little muddy, but that’s the world we live in. This has a significant impact on how we can deploy Titus.

    Currently Titus is 4 1/2 years old, so he still has the potential for a couple more valuable years of active law enforcement service. Since he is one of the Sequim police family, we will be extremely careful in evaluating his transfer. The police department has already received a couple inquiries from agencies who would like to field a narcotics dog and those requests are being carefully reviewed.

    Traditionally when the Sequim police ’surplus’ or retire a K-9 the agency would go through this same process of ’surplusing’ the K-9 by the City Council and then allowing the handler to take custody of the dog – in essence, retirement. The Sequim Police did that with K-9 ‘Huey’ who lived with his former Handler Sgt Campbell until his recent passing. In the case of ‘Titus’ since he is still a viable working dog the police department is looking toward Titus’ continued use in the law enforcement community as a drug dog. The police department would not normally look to place Titus or any other trained K-9 with a family since his unique skill set could also be used for unlawful purposes should he fall into the wrong hands.

    The unknown part of switching our program to a patrol dog orientation is actually our insurance carrier. The City is part of a risk pool that involves numerous other small and medium sized Washington cities. Currently within that group of cities there are no patrol dogs, though there are a couple narcotics dogs. We’re working with the risk pool to evaluate whether we would pursue a generalist patrol K-9 team.

    So this legal step in getting authority to ’surplus’ Titus is more of a technical first step. There is still significant work to be done, which was identified in our 2012 Policing Plan that recommended that the police move toward staffing a patrol K-9 concept in 2008. Those are very tentative dates based on a combination of a growing call load, available resources, etc.

    Merely transferring Titus to another officer like our School Resource Officer is not practical because we would still need to meet the K-9 Handler training requirements to field the dog on duty. And because of our current staffing of 22 police officers, we can not maintain Titus plus and additional K-9 because of the sheer costs that are involved. Training a K-9 Handler (police officer) is a huge investment that includes a ten-week training cycle for a patrol K-9 (this includes lodging and meal costs plus several hundred hours of patrol overtime to cover the shifts of the officer while he/she was away for training, - roughly $30,000 which includes overtime costs to cover open shifts created by the K-9 officer being out of town for certification training over 10 weeks). Our Union contract also requires that 1 extra hour of overtime be approved every day for K-9 maintenance and training - an additional yearly cost of about $6,000.

    For the immediate future K-9 ‘Titus’ will continue to work the streets of Sequim and our agency is continually looking for donations that are used 100% to support our K-9 Program. To learn more about our K-9 Program please visit our web site at: www.ci.sequim.wa.us/police.

    I hope this answers your concerns, but since Titus is a very special part of our staff and a member of our community, please feel free to contact our agency should you have any additional questions or ideas about our K-9 Unit.

    Thanks again for taking the time to learn more about our agency!

    Robert Spinks, MA, MS
    Chief of Police
    Sequim (WA) Police Department

  8. Anonymous says:

    SHAME SHAME SHAME on getting rid of Titus.

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