Muncie police officer Chris Wells’ partner is not going to defend him with a firearm. If Wells is fighting a criminal, Carlos may use his teeth to assist.
Carlos is a Belgian Malinois canine that has been by Wells’ side since 2011.
The K9 Officer
Wells is one of only a few thousand police officers in the United States with a partner that doesn’t carry a firearm and walks on all fours. For Wells, having a trained K-9 for a partner means having someone who always has your back.
“Dogs don’t comprehend danger,” Wells said. “It’s nothing for them to rush a guy who’s holding a gun on you. He 100 percent has your back.”
Wells can tell story after story about how his partner has caught criminals and even possibly saved his life.
Once he and his K-9 were pursuing a suspect considered armed and dangerous around 3 a.m. in the morning.
“The dog throws his head up and dives into the bushes and drags this guy out by his arms,” Wells said. “I could have walked right past him and not known he was there.”
Some of the stories are comical. Working in Muncie, the home of Ball State University, officers sometimes answer calls to the educational institution.
Once, officers were chasing down reports of several “Peeping Toms.” Wells and his K-9 chased the suspects into a house.
“When we entered the house my K-9 saw a very large snake in an aquarium and left a large pile of steaming waste where he stood,” Wells said. “The females that called on the boys ended up knowing them, so we just scolded them and left them to clean up the mess.”
Carlos is Wells’ fourth K-9 since he began working with four-legged partners in 2002. Born in 2009, Carlos is trained in odor detection and tracking.
On the back of Wells’ vest is a warning, “Do not pet.” This is an appropriate warning as Carlos, described by Wells, is “not the super social police dog, he is too high strung.”
Before joining the Muncie Police Department, he worked with K-9s when he was employed with the Department of Corrections. Wells said he worked hard to earn his spot on the K-9 unit.
His first official day as a K-9 officer was exciting, and Wells was like a kid on Christmas morning. “I could not wait to get my dog out and work him,” Wells said.
While he has loved all of his partners, Kayak was his favorite. While off duty and driving home one evening, he and Kayak stopped to help another agency break up a fight. Kayak had to bite a suspect.
When Wells got home, one of his daughters was having a tough day. Kayak comforted her and, in turn, was comforted himself.
When asked what he would tell the next wave of police academy graduates, Wells said every officer should have a K-9.
“You get out of the dog what you put in through training.”
Safariland offers the same protection for K-9s as we do for their human partners.
The redesigned Bark-9™ body armor is created with a contoured pattern that allows for high-speed assaults. The body armor has been tested by multiple police departments and is considered the top-of-the line vest for K-9s on the market.