Bartow Police Department's first K-9 Unit was established in 1972 under the direction of Police Chief Marvin Pittman, and by 1973 the Unit had a total of three dogs, all of which had been donated. However, in 1976 the program was disbanded.
In 1994 the K-9 Program was reestablished under the command of patrol officer Gerad Hunt. Officer Hunt had a desire to develop and re-establish the K-9 Program, and worked diligently and trained his newly purchased four legged partner, named Nero. Eventually three more K-9 Units were trained and added to the Program.
Gerad Hunt became a sergeant in 2001 and Nero retired, but Sgt. Hunt continued to oversee the K-9 Program. These teams assist the Patrol Division with searching buildings, searching for lost or missing persons, evidence recovery, narcotic searches, and crowd control. In addition, K-9 teams are utilized as backup officers for officer safety. You have likely seen the officers and their partners at high school sporting events and large gatherings in the city.
The K-9 teams are available to perform public demonstrations for the citizens of Bartow. The Community Services Division handles the scheduling of the demonstrations upon request from the public. Demonstrations are provided to schools, day-care centers, civic groups, community events, holiday events, business promotions and churches.
To schedule a K-9 Demo, call the Community Services Coordinator at 863-534-5034.
Above, K-9 Officer David Bilbrey and his partner Brody
Right, K-9 Officer Arturo Gonzalez and his partner Rico