04 Jul 50th Anniversary of Lafayette K-9 Program
The Lafayette “Canine Corps” was established under the administration of Chief Dupuis in July of 1970 with employment of Special Officer Diego Patron and his dog, Kurt. Both Patron and Kurt had served in the New Orleans canine corps several years prior to working in Lafayette. “We are confident that Officer Patron and Kurt will provide excellent services in many areas of police work and will help us to develop a full canine corps,” remarked Dupuis.
Lafayette Police now have eight canine teams. Seven of the teams serve as dual purpose and one team as single purpose. Handlers are selected through a rigorous process that includes a physical fitness test, a written test, a practical application test, and an oral interview. Teams must attend 240 hours of training before being able to work on the road, an additional 80 hours riding with a trainer on the road, as well as a minimum of 10 hours weekly training. This is why the Lafayette Police canine unit can confidently claim to be amongst the most professional and highly trained K-9 units across the country.
“The effectiveness of using dogs in special law enforcement situations has been proved many times… However, it is essential that the dog be exactly suited for police work and that their training be extremely good” – Lafayette City Police Chief Easten Dupuis in 1970.
SOURCE: The Daily Advertiser (07/03/1970)
[CORRECTED – The year was 1970, not 1975]