The VPD K9 Unit has four canine/handler teams. This allows for two teams to work every day. During a day on patrol the teams are tasked with assisting on a variety of assignments. The teams are often asked to search for fleeing suspects or narcotics, and in helping to locate lost or missing people. When searching for fleeing suspects, the canines provide a margin of safety for the handler and other officers. The canines have an acute sense of smell and are able to search rooms, houses, and large buildings for suspects hiding where officers might not see them. A K9 can search a building or warehouse in half the time it would take an officer. Searching for, and locating illegal drugs, can take up a large portion of a K9 Team’s day. If a Patrol Officer locates a subject believed to be in possession of an illegal substance or drug paraphernalia, the K9 Team can be used to search for those items.