Not every police officer has the luxury of a partner backing him up on every call. But Deputy Shawn Carter of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office knows that he can wreak Havoc on someone trying to hurt him.
In his case, Havoc is his 5-year-old Belgian malinois K-9 partner.
“I keep him in the car unless I need him, but he’ll come quickly if called,” Shawn says.
Shawn and Havoc are full-time partners, with the dog living with Shawn and his family in Santaquin. In many ways, he’s the regular family dog. Shawn has taken Havoc off-duty to Calf Creek Falls, Fish Lake and Strawberry Reservoir.
But in very important ways, he’s not the average family pup. He’s a working dog that has been specially trained to sniff out drugs and detain bad guys (sometimes with a bite).
“He loves going to work,” Shawn says. “For a dog, work is the fun time.”
In fact, Havoc will often race around, eagerly awaiting the police car door to open so he can start his day.
Shawn is one of eight K-9 officers with the sheriff’s office. One of the eight dogs on the squad is a single-purpose narcotics dog. Another concentrates on explosive detection. The other six — including Havoc — are dual purpose apprehension and narcotics detection.
Although Havoc is trained in apprehension and detention, nearly 95 percent of the reasons Havoc gets out of the car involve narcotics detection.
Police dogs receive continuous training, including daily drills with handlers and weekly group training. A highlight of the year for Shawn and Havoc comes when they get to compete in a police dog competition in Las Vegas. Havoc placed in two different categories last year.