In October of 2008, the Somerville Police Department reactivated the K-9 Unit. It has been almost 30 years since the SPD had its own working police dog.
The members of the K-9 Unit are Officer John Tam and K-9 Max. Max is a male German Shepherd born in the Slovak Republic. K-9 Max joined the Somerville Police in October of 2008.
Officer Tam and K-9 Max trained together at the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department K-9 Academy. They went on to complete additional training from the Middlesex Sheriff's Office. Formal in-service training is required a minimum of three times per month.
K-9 Max is trained as a dual-purpose dog specializing in Patrol Operations and Narcotics Detection. K-9 Max is trained for Patrol Operations, which includes obedience, agility, criminal apprehension, crowd control, evidence search and recovery, building and area searches, and tracking for human scent (fleeing suspect/missing persons). K-9 Max is also trained to signal to his handler when he detects the odor of narcotics.
Officer Tam and K-9 Max patrol the streets of Somerville in a specially outfitted police vehicle. The K-9 unit supplements the patrol force with its unique capabilities. This unit has also provided assistance to other communities in need of the capabilities of a working police dog.
The Somerville Police K-9 Unit routinely assists in the detection and seizure of narcotics as well as the apprehension of criminal suspects.
Officer John Tam and K-9 Max would like to thank Porter Square Veterinarian, 360 Summer Street, Somerville, MA (http://portersqvet.com/) for being the official veterinary care of K-9 Max.
Bulletproof vest for K-9 Max was provided by funds raised at the Somerville Dog Festival/2010 and Dr. Adam Parker - Porter Square Veterinarian through Massachusetts Vest-A-Dog (www.mavestadog.org).