HPD K-9 officers help take down thousands of suspects

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- "Gunnar", "T-Rex" and "The Launcher" are the Houston Police Department's top dogs. They are credited with capturing thousands of take downs in their careers.

"He loves finding bad guys," said Ofc. GW Smith. "He's really good at his job."

Smith's partner is a dog named Gunnar. The German Shepard is 9-years-old and was born in the Czech Republic. He's trained in being a patrol, explosives detection and SWAT dog.

"We are a team. If a suspect is getting the best of a dog, I'm in there with him fighting," said Smith. "We're going to do this together. He would do the exact same thing for me."
Gunnar was recently stabbed by an armed suspect. Smith said, luckily, Gunnar's protective vest prevented the knife from killing his partner.

"You send your dog into situations that you're not sure if he's going to make it out of," said Smith.

Another K9 is bomb and patrol dog Sir Jake. His nickname is "The Launcher."

"He'll be 10 to 15 feet away from the suspect and he will launch himself in the air and hit the decoy or the suspect in the air," said Ofc. Brian Schmidt.
Sir Jake is one of the eldest, at 10-and-a-half-years-old. He's full of energy, and has taken down hundreds of suspects in his career with HPD.

"There's times that it amazes me things that he's done, some of the other canines have done, in searches," said Schmidt.
"He seeks out the evil that's out there," said Smith.

The department has 18 dogs right now. Each one is specially trained. HPD uses licensed breeders and trainers to get each dog ready for the force. It's something that costs thousands of dollars.

Just Thursday morning, T-Rex helped catch one of the suspects involved in a robbery of a Boost mobile store in Houston in a trash can.

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