Smithfield Police Department
Officer Paul “Mike” Gilmore & Paxson
It’s described as one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, positions in police work.
The Smithfield Police Department has formed a K9 Officer Program which operates within the patrol division.
A human-canine officer team is a tried and true law enforcement tool. With their keen sense of eyesight, speed and sense of smell, police dogs can perform some tasks faster and at lower cost than human officers with less risk to officers and the public.
Frequently people outside of law enforcement misunderstand how the dogs are actually used and deployed. This misunderstanding is reinforced by the media, movies, and fictional references, which mistakenly show the dog’s aggression more than they depict how a modern Police K9 is truly used. The Police Service Dog is often ill perceived as a vicious, snarling animal. Police Service Dogs are occasionally needed to apprehend criminals by biting, but its true designed use is to locate suspects who are hiding. Biting is only a very small facet of what the dog can be used for in Police Work. The vast majority of K9 deployments results in no one being bitten. As a “force” tool, the Police Service Dog is very unique in that the dog can be recalled and stopped unlike the swing of a baton, a spray of chemical agents or a bullet when fired by a gun which cannot be stopped while in motion.
Police Service Dogs are used in a variety of situations:
- To search for hidden suspects;
- To apprehend fleeing suspects;
- To search for lost persons;
- To search for evidence;
- To protect the handler, other officers and citizens;
- To clear vehicles after a high risk felony stop;
- To conduct public demonstrations;
- To search for and detect the odor of narcotics;
- To be a visual deterrent of crime.
Mike & Paxson
Smithfield’s first K9 Team, Ptl. Gilmore and a Slovakish, German Shepherd named Paxson, completed a rigorous 10 week (400 hour) training program with the RI State Police on July 11, 2008. They are now certified in patrol work and will return for another eight weeks of training next spring to become certified in narcotics detection. Paxson came from Germany and spent approximately one month in Ohio with a kennel owner before joining Mike. Paxson was born on April 6, 2007 and looks forward to going to work everyday. Although he has calm demeanor, Mike does not suggest that anyone approach him. As with any police dog, they are trained to protect their handler, so please use caution when around working dogs.
Did You Know?
- Dogs live with the handlers and their families.
- When a working dog is retired most of them will live with the handler and their family
- Dogs chosen must have a strong retrieval drive, above average curiosity, and be fearless and outgoing.
- German Shepherds are used extensively because they have a good balance of all these qualities.
- Most dogs will work for 5-7 years.
Keeping Paxson Safe
To keep Paxson safe while he is riding, Mike’s police car is a Ford Expedition with a kennel insert in the back seat. This helps protect in case of a crash. If the temperature inside the car rises above 90 degrees, a fan turns on automatically and the windows roll down. A monitor Mike wears on his duty belt alerts him. The kennel insert has a spill proof water bowl and room for Paxson to move around.
Donating to Smithfield’s K9 Program
If you’d like to send a tax-deductible donation, please make the check payable to the Town of Smithfield and put on the memo that it is for the K9 Program. Send the check to:
Smithfield Police Department
Attn: Finance Department
215 Pleasant View Avenue
Smithfield, RI 02917
Some recent donors are United Rentals (Smithfield) which donated the use of equipment, Robert Dionne Electric who donated electrical supplies for the heat/light hook-up and Jeffrey St. Germain who donated labor for the installation to bring electricity & heat to Paxson’s living quarters, Wal-Mart which provided a check for $1,500.00 and East Side Enterprises which gave $100.00. K9 Paxson was recently given a bullet/stab proof vest valued at approximately $850.00 courtesy of RI Vest a Dog.