Today is Police Officer Memorial Day.
We thought it was the perfect opportunity to post a special edition Word Origin Trivia: the origin of the Police Dog.
(Today, we're not looking up the origin of the phrase "Police Dog" like we'd normally do in this series ~ instead, we're sussing out the origin of the practice itself.)
Police dogs have a long and storied history of service to humankind.
According to the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, the first record of dogs being pressed into military service dates as far back as the Eighteenth Egyptian Dynasty (ca. 1200 BCE).
|The elegant Saluki was thought to be the breed of dog used by the Egyptians.|
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
"The great Latin poet Virgil, wrote, “Never, with dogs on guard, need you fear for your stalls a midnight thief”(Georgics III, 404ff) and the writer Varro, in his work on living in the country, says that every family should have two types of dog, a hunting dog and a watchdog(De Re Rustica I.21)."It's clear that man and dog have had a close working relationship for millenia.
The first printed record of dogs specifically employed by what we would consider the modern version of police departments - at least in the Common Era - appears to date to 14th century France. Here, the faithful canine was charged with the guarding of naval docks and other maritime installations in St. Malo, France.
They were then employed in 1895 to help Parisian police disburse unruly street gangs. This was so successful, Germany decided to develop a formal training program and in 1920, the first official police dog academy came into existence.
|Police dogs-in-training, West Midlands. Can we get a squee? |
Photo: West Midlands Police via Creative Commons
And we honor each of the many sacrifices made by them in the line of duty.
The K-9 Corps: The Use of Dogs in Police Work, William F. Handy, Marlyn Harrington, David J. Pittman. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Volume 52, Issue 3, September-October, 1961.
Dogs in the Ancient World, Ancient History Encyclopedia, Joshua K. Mark, 2012.
The Dog: Its Behavior, Nutrition, and Health, Linda P. Case. John Wiley & Sons, 2013.
Image #13 in The Album of Petroglyphs, Akhale state web directory, Golpaygan, Iran.
Wikipedia on the Saluki
History.com: 11 Things You Didn't Know About Egypt
Heddlu Police: History of the Police Dog Use of PoliceCanine Units in Narcotic SearchesOf Vehicles, Lt. Robert T. Rolak. School of Police Staff and Command, Eastern Michigan University, October 17, 2000.