Two 4-legged officers graduate with NOPD K-9 Unit

NOPD K-9 graduation

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Two four-legged officers graduated with the New Orleans Police Department.

Jo and Carlos received their badges Wednesday.

They are no longer the same pups as when they first arrived to New Orleans last October.

"When they first came here and again, they were a little skittish and apprehensive because it's a new environment and after a period of time of training, going on hikes, long hikes to bond with their assigned handlers, totally totally different dogs now," K-9 Trainer Harold Chambliss said.

The dogs are specifically trained for bomb sniffing and munitions, which police say is critical for big events.

"A city that hosts millions, 15 million visitors a year, it's absolutely imperative that our police department have a highly trained, highly skilled K-9 Unit," President and CEO of New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation Melanie Talia said.

The K-9s are especially preparing for Carnival season .

"We're going to have a whole bunch of people. Canal Street, Bourbon Street, and these officers will be moving through crowds. We ask that if you see them coming through the crowds, to kind of move to the side," K-9 Unit Commander Merlin Bush said.

Officers say they've been through more than ten weeks of training to patrol the French Quarter.

The newest additions weren't randomly selected, Trainer Harold Chambliss brought them here all the way from Europe.

"I perform a selection test on each dog that I'm interested in, and as far as I'm concerned I pick the dog that has a strong drive to work," Chambliss said.

He explains that unlike other K-9s, these dogs are trained not to be aggressive and careful when alerting officers of weapons or explosives.

The dogs have already gone through trials in the French Quarter for the past few weeks, and after this ceremony, they're ready to go.

"They will be official for the four legged partners that they're full pledged police officers," Chambliss said.

The K-9 Unit now has seven dogs, including Jo who is two and half years old and Carlos, who is two.

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