The Patrol Bureau is responsible for providing police services 24/7 to people working, visiting or living in Salt Lake City. Patrol officers are the traditional uniformed first-responders to calls-for-service and emergencies, and, as a result, they need to be law enforcement’s “Jack of All Trades.”
Patrol officers are best described as “Professional Problem Solvers.” Each day brings a myriad of new problems for officers to resolve. Most issues that arise just require good, common sense and professional skills and knowledge. However, some problems require a considerable amount of emotional self-control and restraint from officers, especially when faced with tragedies that would debilitate the average person. Patrol is where the “rubber meets the road” and where officers learn to be cops. As they gain experience, most officers will eventually move on to other specialized fields within the department. However, some of our most seasoned officers enjoy the excitement of patrol their entire careers.
In addition to being responsive to all requests for service from the public, the Patrol Bureau is committed to community-oriented policing and intelligence-led decision-making philosophies while conducting proactive enforcement efforts or addressing community concerns and problems.
The Patrol Bureau is located at the Pioneer Precinct, 1040 West 700 South, Salt Lake City. Telephone contact can be made by calling (801) 799-4600.
- Watch Command
Watch Command represents the Office of the Chief and operates within the Patrol Bureau. Watch Commanders bear the rank of lieutenant and are responsible for overseeing major incidents and day-to-day field operations, ensuring that employees provide and maintain a professional standard of service. In the absence of a Public Information Officer, Watch Commanders are responsible for handling all media relations.
- Community Intelligence Unit (CIU)
The Salt Lake City Police Department has a special unit devoted to grassroots problem-solving within the community. The Community Intelligence Unit (CIU) has seven officers who attend monthly community council meetings within the City’s seven City Council Districts. While CIU officers share and receive a lot of information at these meetings, it is daily interaction with residents that fosters the trust necessary to tackle public safety issues together.
If you have a problem in your neighborhood—from graffiti to loud parties, drug dealers to gangs—your CIU officer is ready to connect you with the law enforcement and community resources necessary to address the issue. Feel free to contact yours directly.
The Salt Lake City Police Department K9 Unit was established in 1958 and, although the unit was dissolved for a short period, the squad continues to be an enormous support function for Salt Lake City and the employees of the police department.
The police department has seven K9 teams made up of an officer teamed with a police service dog, either a German shepherd or a Bloodhound. The shepherd teams are best known for their abilities in apprehending criminals who attack or flee from officers and their ability to sniff drugs. The Bloodhounds are best known for their ability to track suspects and lost children.
K9 Squad FAQ
Where do the Police Service Dogs live?
Once selected, a new police service dog is assigned to a K9 officer. Not only does the dog become an important member of our “police family,” but it also becomes a very important member of the officer’s family. When not at work our dogs spend time with their families but they always have access to a quiet area where they can get plenty of rest.
Do the K9 Teams visit schools and other social gatherings?
Yes, they do visit schools and other community gatherings. They are not available for birthday parties or other private functions. Please call (801) 799-3400 to arrange a visit.
Can I support the SLCPD K9 Unit?
Yes. The K9 Unit operates on a very tight budget. Our dogs are fed high-quality food and they receive the best veterinary care. Our budgetary limitations, however, make it difficult for us to attend training events and K9 competitions. Our officers feel strongly that by keeping their police service dogs on the cutting edge of proficiency, they are keeping them, other officers and the public safe. If you would like to invest in the safety of our dogs and in the effectiveness of their work, donations can be made to:
SLCPD K9 Unit
c/o SLCPD PMAA
475 South 300 East
PO Box 145497
SLC, Utah 84114-5497
Can I touch/pet the police service dogs?
Like any police service dog, you must ask the handler if you can touch the K9 before you do. Police service dogs are trained to protect themselves and their handlers, so it is important that the handler introduce you to his or her dog properly.
Do the K9s like to bite?
The K9s only bite when absolutely necessary to protect themselves, their handlers, another officer, a citizen or when they need to capture a fleeing felony suspect. Most often, when faced with a confrontation with a police dog, criminal suspects choose to surrender. When our dogs do bite, they are trained to grip and hold the suspect until their handler is able to take over. This results in very minor injury to the suspect. Salt Lake Police K9s are primarily used as search tools. They enjoy hunting for and finding people, articles of evidence and illegal drugs.
What kind of dogs do you use?
We have 2 German Shepherds and 2 Belgian Malinois both are dual-purpose patrol/drug detection dogs. We have 3 Bloodhounds that specializes in tracking, and one Labrador that specializes in drug detection that is assigned to the DEA.
Who trains the dogs?
We train all of our dogs in-house. Officer Cale Lennberg is our head patrol/drug dog instructor. Our dogs are certified by the state of Utah and must pass a proficiency examination annually. Officer Mike Serio is our head bloodhound instructor.
How old are the dogs when they start training?
We normally purchase police dog candidates that are between 18 months and 2½ years old. Dogs can begin their training at a very young age. Our bloodhounds were purchased as puppies. Their training began when they were about 2 months old!
How long are the dogs trained?
Basic training for our dual-purpose patrol and drug detection dogs takes four months of full-time work. Additionally, our dogs receive 2 hours of in-service training during each of their 10 hour shifts.
How old are the dogs when they retire?
Our rule of thumb for retiring police dogs is 7 years of service or 10 years of age. Of course, actual retirement depends on the physical condition of the dog. Going to work every week is the most important thing in the world to each of our dogs. Early retirements are not fair to them unless there is a physical limitation.
Where do they go when they retire?
Our dogs are members of the officer’s family and they retire with that family in every case. If a service dog has worked with more than one officer during its career, the dog normally retires with the last officer that it worked with.
How do officers get selected to become K9 handlers?
K9 officer candidates must pass a rigorous screening process. Several officers compete for each position. We choose our K9 officers from among the most effective officers in the department. Each candidate is then evaluated on many dimensions in order to determine which will be the most effective when paired with a police service dog.
Where does the Salt Lake Police Department get its dogs?
Police dog candidates must possess certain drives, instincts and character traits in order to be considered. Very few dogs pass our screening process. We sometimes import dogs from Europe due to the small numbers of qualified candidates in the United States.
How much do the dogs cost?
The dogs that meet our high standards cost from $5,000–$7,000. Fortunately, when measured in terms of effectiveness and community safety, the payback period on the initial investment is very short!
How is a dog able to smell so well?
A number of things contribute to a dog’s keen sense of smell. Their long snouts have a large turbinate bone structure that holds millions of scent receptor cells, plus the olfactory lobe of their brain is much larger than that of a human being.
Is hurting a police service dog the same as hurting a police officer?
Injuring or killing a police service dog is a 3rd degree felony punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years. We invest considerable resources in our K9 partners and we consider them officers in every sense. They put their lives on the line every day to protect the community and the officers of the Salt Lake City Police Department.