The Yuma Police Department's Special Enforcement Team (SWAT) works in intense situations where four-legged specialists are sometimes needed.
"The Chief [Jerry Geier] implemented getting some patrol dogs, which are a lesser force where we can use the dogs to actually bite people if we need to assist in making an arrest," says Sgt.. Jeff Ruby with the Yuma Police Department's Gang and K-9 Unit.
Amidst the loud gunshots and smell of gunpowder in the air, YPD's SWAT team has been training for a couple of days with its K-9 units, as well as with two K-9 teams from Cocopah Police Department and another from Billings, Montana.
Sgt.. Ruby says individual and combined training sharpens tactical skills.
"Everybody starts trying to think of a bite dog, they're going to think that dog is just going to bite everybody," says Sgt.. Ruby. "And it's getting the SWAT members used to that dog and the handler can beat up or standing right next to you or back of you and the dog's not going to bite you until the command is given by the handler."
K-9 units also provide SWAT members crucial information to assess dangerous situations, another arsenal in the team's toolbox.
"That dog can also search a lot of areas that the SWAT members that we don't have to send them into because the dog's hearing is so much more than a human, the dog's scent is so much more than a human," says Sgt.. Ruby. "And that's just an asset to the police department and the citizens of Yuma that we have that extra safeguard for us in lethal force."