Keeping K-9’s Cool

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MEDOFRD, Ore. — Narc is a three year-old K-9 who has only been on board with Medford Police for a couple of months. He needs to be ready to go at all times, so keeping him cool on a hot day is a priority.

“120 down to 75, up to 120, it’s pretty hard on the animal. It fatigues the dog. We need these dogs to perform at a moment’s notice,” said Officer Harvice.

That need along, with the fluctuation in temperatures inside cars, has led police to use a complex system to monitor inside conditions.

“It’s a very accurate reading. It’s right in the middle of the vehicle,” said Officer Harvice.

Two heat sensors inside this police car relay information to a remote worn at all times on an officer’s belt. The car’s air conditioning is always running, but if temperatures go above a set limit. An alert is sent to the officer, windows roll down, and fans turn on.

“Say that you shut your car off just as you jump out to go chasing this person and the dog moves around in the back, it’s going to send an alert to your pager that you need to go back to your car. Your dog is in need,” said Officer Harvice.

Officer Harvice said he’s worked with K-9s for more than 15 years. In that time, the technology has evolved, but a form of this system has been in place. Harvice said mechanical problems happen, but the alerts are always ready to go.

“I’ve had air conditioner failure. I’ve had fan belts break, which cause your air conditioner to quit working, and it never fails. It’s going to happen on the hottest day of the year,” said Officer Harvice.

This technology is available to the public and can be found online, but comes with a big price tag. Between ordering, shipping and installing the system, the total is upwards of $2,000. Police and car accessory experts agree, it’s best to just leave the dog at home.