Raise your right paw: JCPD swears in newest canine officer

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Canine Officer Kyra was sworn in as a police officer on Monday, July 9 at the Johns Creek City Council meeting.

Kyra, a Dutch Shepherd from the Netherlands, completed the initial six weeks of training required to join the K-9 division in Johns Creek. She is the fourth and final member of the unit, which will not take any additional dogs until one leaves the team.

Kyra and her police handler, Beth McGinn, are the first female duo on the force. Kyra is also unique because the other three dogs in her division are all German Shepherds.

On Monday night, officers were heard giving Kyra instructions in German, a reminder of her international roots.

The selection process for these four-legged officers involves many parties. Once a police handler is chosen, then the training school is contacted and given a description of what type of dog is needed.

“[The department] contacts the school and tells them what traits they’re looking for in a dog,” said McGinn. “And then the school goes to their breeder overseas and finds dogs they think will be suitable.”

Typical responsibilities for K-9 officers might include tracking lost children, sniffing out suspects, detecting drugs or even apprehending a subject.

Despite the physical demands of these responsibilities, police dogs must also have the ability to show certain personality traits as well.

McGinn said the dogs must be willing to explore new surroundings, be eager to work and social enough to attend events around the community.

While Kyra has been deemed capable of all of these tasks, McGinn says she still has a long way to go.

“Training never stops,” McGinn said. “While we’ve graduated school, we’ve still got some work to do.”