Department Using Technology To Protect Aberdeen Police K9

System Protects Dog From Heat Exhaustion: 'If it's too hot for me, it's too hot them.'

Twenty-six police K9s died in the line of duty in the United States last year. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, eleven of those were due to heat exhaustion. Now police departments across the nation are relying on technology to make sure these tragedies don’t happen.

Aberdeen Police Officer Tom Barstad said, “He’s extremely attached.”

At home, Neko gets to act like every other 2-year-old puppy. But Barstad says he knows when it’s time to go to work.

Barstad said, “He sees me put on the uniform, he knows he’s going to work and then he’s in the car.”

And the Aberdeen Police Department K9 has gotten pretty good at his job. Just recently, Neko’s nose led to the arrest of four people and helped take more than three pounds of drugs off the street.

“For him, in his mind, he’s not seeking drugs. He’s smelling the odor of his toy. In his mind, he smells that odor, he sits and he goes, he’s waiting for his toy,” Barstad said.

When he’s not sniffing out drugs, this is his office; even during the summer months.

Barstad said, “Dogs can get heat stroke very easily. If it’s too hot for me, it’s too hot them.”

Before Barstad and Neko were united in April of last year, he researched ways to keep him safe.

“Car air-conditioning systems can fail, the engine can overheat,” said Barstad.

That’s why the department has purchased a K9 Heat Alert System, which detects how hot the inside of his car gets. If his vehicle is 90 degrees for over a minute, the system will page Barstad.

Barstad said, “It will activate the light bar like you would see it being stopped. It will roll down the back windows where he’s at and if its on for another additional minute, it will start chirping the siren.”

Barstad hopes it will ensure that he can go home with his partner at the end of every day.

“He’s got a lot of energy and a lot of puppy still left in him but that’s what makes it fun,” Barstad said.