Death of Phoenix police K-9 Bane shines light on dogs' important roles in crime-fighting

Posted: Updated:
Bane was one of 15 highly intelligent dogs serving on the force. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Bane was one of 15 highly intelligent dogs serving on the force. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Bane was killed in the line of duty by a suspect who led officers on a high-speed chase before a standoff with law enforcement. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Bane was killed in the line of duty by a suspect who led officers on a high-speed chase before a standoff with law enforcement. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
K-9s specialize in finding criminals and stopping them in their tracks. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) K-9s specialize in finding criminals and stopping them in their tracks. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Less than three weeks after the death of a Phoenix police K-9, the officers with him during his final moments are talking about the huge role these dogs play in crime-fighting.

On April 17, Sgt. Rich Maiocco of the Phoenix Police Department watched as the body of K-9 "Bane" was carried out of a home in the neighborhood of Bethany Home Road and 27th Avenue.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Suspect in custody after high-speed chase in Phoenix; police dog killed in incident]

"It truly is like losing a family member for these guys," said Maiocco.

Bane was killed in the line of duty by a suspect who led officers on a high-speed chase before a standoff with law enforcement. 

"The hope was that he would provide the officers on the perimeter an early warning if the suspect tried to escape. Apparently. he heard something and walked into that room, and we have no idea what happened inside there," said Maiocco. "Fortunately, that day no officers were injured, and Bane paid the ultimate sacrifice. It was horrible, a tragic day."

Bane was one of 15 highly intelligent dogs serving on the force. They specialize in finding criminals and stopping them in their tracks.

"Just the barking alone, you’d be amazed at how many people just surrender to the barking of the dog because a lot of people are scared of dogs," said Maiocco.

[RELATED: Memorial service held in honor of beloved Phoenix police K9 Bane]

The K-9s also work to protect their handlers.

“They’re walking out behind a dog and they’re trusting that dog is going to let them know when something bad’s coming. These guys look for the worst of the worst," said Maiocco.

Belgian Malinois, German shepherds and Dutch shepherds typically make up these law enforcement teams.

Handlers rely on the dogs’ strong sense of smell.

“They’re looking for what we can’t see. They’re smelling for what we can’t see,” said Maiocco.

[RELATED: Phoenix Police Foundation holds fundraiser for fallen K-9 officer]

They also rely on their ability to follow commands through reward-based training exercises.

"These guys spend every bit of 40 hours with their dogs. Some actually spend more time with their K-9s than they do with their family," said Maiocco. "The relationship that the officers and handlers have with their K-9 partners is amazing."

The Phoenix Police Department expects to add at least one new K-9 to fill the gap left behind by Bane in early June, and another two K-9s to complete the unit by the end of this year.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.