PASADENA >> The Pasadena Police Department’s first female police dog has taken to the streets with the city’s first female K-9 handler.
Kyra, a 3-year-old Dutch Shepherd from the Netherlands, is partnered with Officer Lynda Mercado.
“(Kyra) is skilled in both suspect apprehension and finding explosive devices,” Pasadena Police Foundation officials said in a written statement.
The team began serving Pasadena earlier this year, officials said.
“At a slim 55 pounds, Kyra has been trained to negotiate a variety of obstacles that are presented to officers that work in the field,” according to the statement. “Currently, she is being trained to detect explosives in open areas as well as confined spaces. This is particularly important since Pasadena is home to a large stadium like the Rose Bowl and hosts the world famous Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. These venues host large audiences and therefore Kyra is taught to alert police quickly to save lives.”
Pasadena police now have four four-legged officers on duty. In addition to Kyra, they include a German shepherd, a Belgian Tervuren and a Belgian Malinois.
Each dog has unique traits and duties.
German shepherds, for example, tend to conduct searches slowly and methodically, Mercado explained. Belgian Malinois tend to be more aggressive in their search tactics, immediately running deep into the search area.
“Kyra is like both of these breeds combined into one and is very adaptable under these extreme situations,” Mercado said.
The police dogs and their handlers train weekly, officials said.
“As part of the training, we practice a variety of scenarios in a variety of terrain so the dogs get used to the differences,” Mercado said.
The purchase of Kyra, along with the specialized SUV to transport her, was funded by the Pasadena Police Foundation.
When not on duty, Kyra lived with her human counterpart.
“I enjoy working with this very smart, reliable dog,” Mercado said. “I bring her home with me at night and she is more than ready to go to work the next day.”
PHOTOS courtesy of the Pasadena Police Foundation