The Vanderbilt University Police Department formed a dedicated K-9 Unit in June 2007. These valued members of our team play a vital role in keeping our community safe by performing bomb sweeps prior to large functions at the University, such as athletic events and concerts.
We have three teams consisting of single purpose explosive detector canines. All teams are certified annually with the United States Police Canine Association. Initial training is under the supervision of a United States Police Canine certified trainer provided by the Metro Nashville Police K-9 section, with a minimum of fifty days initial training. K-9 teams must maintain 16 hours minimum monthly team maintenance training. Teams re-certify yearly with the United States Police Canine Association to demonstrate team proficiency as set forth by the USPCA. Teams also must pass a yearly U.S. ATF National Odor Recognition Examination to maintain eligibility for USPCA certification.
The explosive detector canine teams provide pre-event sweeps prior to any event deemed necessary by the university and/or VUPD.
Teams are utilized for suspicious package/vehicles and respond to any bomb threat location within Vanderbilt University.
Teams provide mutual aid assistance as needed to Metro Nashville Police Department and or surrounding agencies.
Harvey has been serving since May 2014
Dyno has been serving since Sept. 2017
Brutus has been serving since Sept. 2017
In September of 2018 Vanderbilt University Public Safety launched a new K-9 program to assist in outreach efforts and strengthen bonds with the Vanderbilt community. The first VUPS Community K-9 Patrol team consists of Corporal Shaneithia Lewis and her partner Jack, a two year old Yellow Labrador Retriever. They will provide comfort and affection to Vanderbilt students, faculty, and staff, as well as the Vanderbilt community. The goal of the VUPS Community K-9 is to aid in reducing anxieties in a variety of situations such as: exams, stressful workdays, personal crisis, etc. The Community K-9 also aids in social interactions and positive encounters with law enforcement and the Vanderbilt community.
Corporal Shaneithia Lewis began her career at Vanderbilt University Public Safety in March 2014. She began her career as a Community Service Officer before being selected to attend the Police Academy and represent VUPS as a sworn Police Officer. Corporal Lewis has a friendly and outgoing personality and has excelled in community service and public outreach, making her an obvious choice in being selected as Jack’s handler and partner. Corporal Lewis and Jack attended and completed the companion/therapy dog program through the Brevard County Florida Sheriff’s Office “Paws and Stripe College” on September 18, 2018. Jack became a member of VUPS upon the graduation ceremony. Corporal Lewis and Jack will be utilized as a community outreach resource at Vanderbilt University. Jack will provide affection and dog attention to our faculty, staff and students around campus.
The team will participate in regular obedience dog club training and regularly challenge their skills as a handler and a good “canine citizen”.
About “Paws and Stripes”
The “Paws and Stripes” program finds shelter/rescue dogs and pairs the dog up with various county jail inmates. The program is administered by the Brevard County Florida Sheriff’s Department. The inmates are tasked with training the dog on advanced obedience skills as well as to monitor, document the dogs temperament and general demeanor under the supervision and direction of a professional K9 trainer.
The “Paws and Stripes” program is a win/win initiative that frees up kennel space at private and public animal shelters, provides dogs with forever homes, provides a great resource to law enforcement agencies, provides college veterinarian students a strong practical application for their area of study and teaches inmates a skill that can be utilized to decrease recidivism.
If after approximately eight weeks the canine candidate meets the criteria, then the K9 graduates and is paired up with an officer candidate to handle the canine.
The program has been in existence since 2006 and has provides may canines to veterans/first responders with disabilities, families that have a child with disabilities, as well as multiple law enforcement agencies utilizing the dogs as child victim advocates and to assist officers with those in crisis.
K-9 Officer Dyno and his handler, Lieutenant Jason Bates
K-9 Officer Harvey and his handler, Sergeant Ray Stanard
K-9 Officer Brutus and his handler, Sergeant John Oliver
K-9 Officer Jack and his handler, Corporal Shaneithia Lewis
K-9 Officer Gauge (Retired) 2007-2017
with his handler Lt. Jason Bates
K-9 Officer Kojack (Retired) 2007-2013