Chattanooga Police Department Introduces K-9 Gunther

Wednesday, April 7, 2021
- photo by Chattanooga Police Department

The Chattanooga Police Department adds to its ranks a new employee who possesses a specialized skill set that could save countless lives, socializes well in most settings, and can be shared with other area law enforcement agencies. 

Meet Vapor Wake trained K9 Gunther (aka Gunny). He’s an almost two-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer who originally hails from Hungary. Gunny trained in Anniston, Al. at Vapor Wake K9 where his CPD handler, Sgt. Sean O’Brien, joined him for the final seven weeks of the intensive training. 

“Gunther is a smart, gentle dog who loves to work and train,” said Sgt.

O’Brien. “I’m pleased to introduce him to members of the community and work alongside such a skilled and dependable partner.”

Vapor Wake dogs are dual-purpose and specially trained to detect 20-plus explosives odors when they are in motion or in a static environment. CPD’s current K9s are not trained to detect odors in motion nor in large crowds. K9 Gunny will be able to provide ongoing and randomized K9 sweeps of various venues and its attendees identifying potential threats entering the venue or roaming throughout the area. K9 Gunther will primarily support CPD’s Gun Team, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team, and Neighborhood Policing Bureau.. K9 Gunther and Sgt. O’Brien will also be made available to assist other area law enforcement agencies as needed and schedules allow. 

Since K9 Gunny and Handler Sgt. O’Brien were certified and deployed on March 8, they wasted no time getting to work. The pair have completed:
• Three area searches related to shots fired/pursuit calls with one weapon recovered; 
• One area search related to an armed robbery;
• One building and area search related to a CPD Gun Team search warrant;
• One school sweep; 
• Two sweeps and vapor searches for public events; and 
• One sweep of the Chattanooga Airport.

“CPD has been improving and increasing its use of technology to provide improved public safety in recent years, said Chief David Roddy. “It just makes sense to also utilize the most current canine technology available to further enhance public safety at events and crowded locations not just in Chattanooga, but also in the surrounding area.”

The purchase and training of K9 Gunny was funded by the 2020 Homeland Security Grant Program. The application and administration of that grant was handled by the Hamilton County Office of Emergency Management. The CPD will assume all costs associated with the care, maintenance and recertification of the Vapor Wake & Weapons K9 Team of Gunther and Sgt. O’Brien. With the addition of Gunther, there are now seven active working dogs in the CPD K9 Unit.

More information about Vapor Wake K9 available at https://homeofvaporwake.com/.

- photo by Chattanooga Police Department

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