A police department in Great Britain has begun a recruiting process aimed to bring a friendlier image to the force.
Police in Devon and Cornwall say they will add a class of Springer spaniels as search and rescue dogs because the breed is perceived as less frightening than the German Shepherds that currently fill the role.
Andrew Lilburn, the dog inspector for the Devon and Cornwall force commented, "Our existing general purpose dogs are fantastic at what they do but vulnerable people are often scared when confronted by a German shepherd dog."
Three spaniels were obtained by the police from local breeders in July and trained to recognize and find a human scent. The young dogs were taught to bark when they find a missing person and lead their trainer to the person by running back and forth between the two.
According to Lilburn, the dogs have already made several rescues, including that of a young man found in the countryside after running away from home. The officer summarize, "These dogs are a real asset to the force."
Because of the risks posed to police dogs in the U.S., the North American Police Work Dog Association warns police forces that if the law enforcement agency owns the canine, home owners insurance for dogs will not cover the animal’s liability.