Congratulations to K9 Frodo for One Year of Service to the Seattle Community


Date: January 2, 2023

Congratulations to Seattle Police Department K9 handler Officer Kame Spencer and her partner K9 Frodo, for their one-year anniversary of service to the city!

Officer Spencer has been with SPD since 2017 and is the newest member of the K9 Unit. She and K9 Frodo celebrated their one-year milestone on December 7, 2023, exactly 12 months from their K9 certification date. Frodo is a patrol K9, whose primary responsibilities include area and building searches, suspect pursuit, evidence search and recovery, handler protection, community safety, and community engagement.

Frodo is three-year-old purebred German shepherd, and he’s got the ears to prove it. He is a friendly, social dog, who is great with Seattle community members. The past 12 months have given them the opportunity to really get to know each other, Spencer said. Frodo’s personality has revealed itself more and more, which has been both fun and rewarding.

“He’s a lot goofier than I thought,” Spencer said. “His temperament is really amazing. He’s really good around kids, which I love. He’s a super big sweetheart with so much attitude.”

When you’re a K9 handler, the training never stops. In addition to living and working together, the two train together daily, to help develop Frodo’s skills and continually improve his obedience. This is in addition to K9 Unit training, which takes place every other Wednesday, and gives the dogs the opportunity to engage in practice tracks, searching for both evidence and suspects. The training is as much for Spencer as it is for Frodo, as Spencer’s ability to correctly interpret Frodo’s indicators is vital to their success as a team.  

“You have to learn how to trust your dog,” Spencer said. “I think that’s the hardest part.”

This means being able to understand the information Frodo is giving her, whether his indications are subtle or obvious. And she has to be willing to trust his instincts, even when they seem to conflict with the verbal information provided by her human counterparts.

Recently, Spencer and Frodo were deployed on track involving an armed suspect on a violent crime spree who had fled into the stairwell of an apartment building. A patrol officer attempted pursuit, but lost him somewhere inside the building. Luckily for Spencer, the suspect dropped a jacket and another piece of evidence in their haste to elude the police.

The jacket was just the thing Frodo needed to initiate the track.

The jacket was located near the 5th floor of the building, which is where it was generally believed the suspect was hiding. But Frodo explored the 5th floor and found nothing of interest. He was, however, interested in returning to the stairwell, and as they proceeded up to the 6th floor, he located an additional piece of evidence. Once they arrived on six, Frodo made a beeline for a particular door and immediately “downed,” which is a positive indication.

Thanks to Frodo’s keen tracking skills, and thanks to Officer Spencer, for trusting Frodo when he wanted to proceed up the 6th floor, a dangerous suspect was safely apprehended.

From the start, it was a difficult track, and hope for a successful outcome was minimal. Once the suspect successfully got inside the building, there were dozens of places he could have hidden. But due to their powerful sense of smell, working dogs like K9 Frodo are able to distinguish a particular scent and follow it to its source. A German shepherd has an estimated 220 million olfactory sensory cells in its nose, while a human has only about five million.

Simply put, K9s can do what humans cannot, which is why they’re such an incredible asset to law enforcement. SPF is honored to support SPD’s K9 program, for all it does help improve public safety in Seattle. K9 Frodo was purchased by Seattle Police Foundation donors in 2022 and we’re excited to watch him grow and thrive.

“He’s really smart, he works really hard, and he doesn’t give up,” Spencer said. “I really like that about him.”

Learn more about SPD’s K9 Unit on our K9 webpage. To support the K9 Unit, please visit our donation page and enter “K9 Unit” in the comments field.