DATE: January 31, 2023
We want to congratulate Officer Kame Spencer and K9 Frodo, the Seattle Police Department’s newest K9 team!
K9 Frodo is a charming and social 2-year-old German shepherd from Hungary. His birthday is June 10, 2020, and he began his official service as a certified SPD K9 on December 7, 2022. K9 Frodo is one of five generalist (patrol) K9s, whose primary responsibilities include tracking suspects, area searches, building searches, pursuit, evidence search and recovery, handler protection, and community safety. Already in his brief tenure K9 Frodo has been deployed four times, earning his first capture on January 10, 2023, after just over one month on the Unit.
Officer Spencer and Frodo deploy all throughout the City of Seattle and provide mutual aid to neighboring jurisdictions as needed. Importantly, not every deployment results in a pursuit. Sometimes, just the presence of a K9 team – specifically the sound of a barking dog – is enough to persuade an eluding criminal suspect to come out of hiding and turn themselves in.
When he’s not engaged in a track, Frodo is a goofy, happy, friendly guy who enjoys meeting and making friends with humans. He weighs around 70 pounds, stands roughly 2-1/2 feet tall, and will instantly win you over with his sweet, outgoing disposition. He has a curious, intelligent face and is immediately recognizable due to his distinguishably tall ears.
He loves snacks, balls, and shredding the occasional stuffie (or car seat), but what dog doesn’t?
His devotion to his handler is readily apparent, as the two live, work, train, and relax together. The beauty of being a K9 handler, said Officer Spencer, is that you end up with a best friend that you get to hang out with, all day every day.
Officer Spencer started with SPD August of 2017, and worked in Patrol prior to earning a position with the K9 Unit. Once paired with Frodo, the two completed the 400 hours of K9 training required by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) and the 200 additional hours required by SPD. After that, they completed an assessment with a WSCJTC Certified Canine Evaluator, successfully meeting the performance standards required to become a K9 team.
But just because they became certified doesn’t mean they stopped practicing.
Training is something that happens every single day, said Spencer. She and Frodo are constantly working on obedience and control, training at least an hour a day as a team and roughly eight hours biweekly as a Unit. With their current training regimen, they well-exceed the state requirement of 16 hours of continued training per month.
Breeds like German shepherds (and other similar breeds) are ideal for police work due to their intelligence, obedience, loyalty, and, of course, their acute sense of smell. Their sharp sense of smell is noteworthy. A German shepherd has an estimated 220 million olfactory sensory cells in its nose, while a human only has about five million. Instead of smelling a singular object, like a pizza, Frodo smells each individual component of that pizza.
Which could be where his penchant for delicious snacks comes in.
“He loves food,” Spencer said. “If you open anything and you don’t share it with him, he just stares you down.”
Spencer named him Frodo because when she was first introduced to him, all she saw was ears. As it turns out, the name suits him perfectly.
Officer Spencer loves being a police officer for a variety of reasons. She loves helping people and supporting the community. It’s a dynamic job, she’s not stuck behind a desk, she’s part of a cohesive team, and is constantly challenged. She loves being on the K9 Unit for the additional challenge that it brings to her workday, and of course having a furry four-legged partner is an added benefit.
“I love it,” she said. “Every day is new.”
SPD’s K9 Unit is a multifaceted Unit made up of highly-trained K9 teams equipped to perform a variety of jobs. It is largely because of the generous donations made by SPF’s passionate K9 supporters that these incredibly efficient and effective dogs are possible. Thanks to our loyal donors, we’re able to purchase new dogs for patrol, narcotics, explosives, comfort, and wellness, plus help pay for updated safety gear for both dog and handler, supplies, and ongoing training.
Thank you all for your support, and please join us in congratulating Officer Spencer and K9 Frodo!