The Puyallup Police department's K-9 program started in 1982 with the recruitment of Xander. Xander has since passed on but the program remains strong within the department. Currently, there are two Puyallup Police Patrol K-9s which are used to track suspects and evidence. K-9 Marshal and Maverick both entered into service in 2012 after undergoing over 400 hours of training. Marshal was born in the Netherlands on September 23, 2010 and came to the United States in May 2012. The name Marshal was selected by handler Officer Matthew Hurley to represent the ‘Town Marshal’. K-9 Maverick also began service in 2012 with handler Officer Kevin Karuzas.
In 1995, the department recruited its first Narcotic K-9. A Narcotic K-9 is trained to locate marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, black tar heroin and methamphetamine. This function is often used in executing search warrants and vehicle searches. The Puyallup Police Department has one Narcotic K-9, a pure-bred yellow Labrador Retriever named Timber. Timber was donated to the department by retired police chief Lockheed Reader and his family. Timber and his partner Officer Nathan Cusick completed training and entered service in 2008.
2012 was a devastating year for the Puyallup Police Department K-9 Unit with the passing of Chance. Chance was a 6 year-old German Shepherd partnered with Officer Gary Shilley. Chance passed away unexpectedly on June 5, 2012 during a routine medical procedure. 2012 also saw the retirement of K-9 Daro. Daro entered into service with partner Officer Doug Kitts in 2003. In their 9-years of service as a K-9 team, Daro and Officer Kitts together conducted 683 applications which resulted in 199 captures.
K-9's and their handlers go through continuous training and can be seen throughout the year doing public demonstrations.