HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Police Department has a team of three K9 units working to help protect residents in the Hub City. Among those is the department’s first female K9 unit.
“I love dogs in general. So, it was always a dream to me to actually just be able to handle a dog and actually make a difference,” Hattiesburg Police Officer Danielle Lewis said.
With more than eight years experience and two years with the Hattiesburg Police Department, Lewis is the first certified female K9 unit within HPD.
“My canine’s job is actually to detect explosives. He can also detect guns or ammunition,” Lewis said.
Police canines are experts in specially trained areas of law enforcement, helping their handlers uncover possible evidence. Lewis handles Officer Otter.
Lewis went through more than four weeks of intense training with Otter to learn commands, unique skills and learning to work as a partner. As the first woman to have the expertise in the field, Lewis said she ultimately hopes to help save lives and keep the community safe while inspiring others along the way.
“It is a good feeling and at least that way if a female hadn’t even thought about it before, now they know it’s something they can do and there’s not anything holding them back from actually perusing that,” Lewis said.
HPD also has an agreement to assist other agencies with the K9 unit when needed.