The Keizer Police Department has two K9 teams. Each team consists of an officer (handler) and a service dog (K9). In addition to their specialized training, each team is responsible for general patrol activities and functions the same as patrol officers. The teams work night shifts because that is where the greater needs are for their skills. Teams are required to obtain initial certification, re-certify annually with the Oregon Police Canine Association (OPCA), and receive weekly training to maintain proficiency.
The K9 Unit offers their services to neighboring communities for calls and assistance, such as the Salem Police Department and the Marion County Sheriff's Office in conjunction with inter-agency agreements. They also visit local schools and organizations and participate in community events to give presentations to educate the public about our K9 program.
Officer Eric Jefferson is K9 Buster's handler. Officer Jefferson has over 20 years of experience with the Keizer Police Department and has been partnered with several K9s during his career. Buster joined the agency as a 2 year old in 2012 . Officer Jefferson and Buster are certified through the Oregon Police Canine Association (OPCA). Buster is a Malinois trained in field work.
Officer Scott Keniston and K9 Kobe have been paired since 2017 and are also certified through OPCA. Officer Keniston is in his 13th year with the Keizer Police Department. Kobe is a German shepherd dog that was 3 years old when purchased in November 2017. Kobe's patrol duties include tracking and trailing, building and area searches, discarded article searches, suspect apprehension, and officer protection.