The United States Park Police K-9 Unit was established in 1959, the first in the Washington, DC, area. Two years earlier, Chief Harold Stewart sent Sergeant Alfred Beye to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Training Kennel in Nova Scotia, Canada. Sergeant Beye then trained with the Baltimore City Police K-9 Unit and returned to train our first canines. The first canine handlers were members of the Horse Mounted Unit. They trained each canine in different language commands, so that others could not control them. These included Spanish-Indian, German and Japanese. Once they trained the canines, they would trot along next to the Horse Mounted Officer while he patrolled the horse trails. Eventually, the Force only assigned the canine handler the duties of working with a trained canine. By the early 1970's, only one canine team remained. In 1974, the Force added the first explosives detection canines. Also in the mid-1970’s, the Force trained the first narcotics detection canine teams.
The K-9 Unit is divided into two separate disciplines. Patrol/Narcotics Detection K-9 teams are trained for tracking, apprehension, locating evidence, and detection of narcotics. EOD K-9 teams are trained to detect explosive compounds. The K-9 Unit also assists in securing areas prior to the arrival of the President, Vice President, and visiting Heads of State. K-9 teams are employed in the Washington, DC, area, the New York Field Office, and the San Francisco Field Office.