The Satellite Beach Police Department currently has one police K-9. Handler Cpl. Steve Owens and Ofc. "Astor" make up the department's K-9 team. Astor was acquired in 2009 and began his work as a Police K-9 in 2010.
K9 Ofc. Astor and Cpl. Owens are certified as a K-9 patrol team through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. They have also have successfully completed a 160-hour drug detection course through the Brevard County Sheriff’s Department. Additionally Astor and his handler are certified by the North American Police Working Dog Association.
Astor has many skills that make him a valuable tool for law enforcement:
TRACKING – Astor uses his heightened sense of smell to detect the path of fleeing criminals or missing children/adults. Astor uses a combination of the sent of the individual and also the disturbed ground sent a person makes when they step. He can track across many surfaces to include concrete, grass, sand, and gravel.
CRIMINAL APPREHENSION – In the rare circumstance of a fleeing felon or violent individual refusing to surrender to law enforcement, Astor is trained to physically apprehend suspects and render them into submission for law enforcement to take them into custody.
BUILDING SEARCHES – Astor can enter a building and search it for an intruder in a fraction of the time it would take Police Officers.
AREA SEARCH– Astor can search large areas for suspects and locate them using his heightened sense of smell.
DRUG SEARCHES– Astor is trained to detect the odor of illegal narcotics. Astor is an extremely important tool in the fight against drugs in our community. When Astor indicates to the odor of narcotics it gives law enforcement probable cause to search.
SAFETY- Astor is considered a Police Officer and has his own equipment issued by the Police Department. He has a special SUV that is set up to ensure his safety and comfort. This SUV has its windows tinted to help minimize the heat; it also has a temperature alarm that activates the SUV lights and siren if the temperature goes above 87 degrees. If the temperature should rise above 87 degrees the back windows would automatically roll down and activate a fan that’s mounted in one of the rear windows. The fan moves enough air to cool the interior compartment 15 degrees within 20 seconds.
The SUV has a special cage built into it for Astor; it has a rubber mat and is ergonomically designed for comfort and safety. The cage has a water dish that allows Astor to stay hydrated throughout his shift. The SUV also has additional lights on it to maximize its visibility. Ofc. Astor has his own bulletproof vest as well as his own police badge. He receives his department physical once a year through Dr. Fuller’s veterinarian office in Indian Harbour Beach.
The Satellite Beach Police Departments K-9 program is committed to serving its community and providing the highest quality of service to its citizens. The mere presence of a K-9 in our community will deter crime and will continue to make this one of the safest communities in which to live in Florida.
Retired K-9 "Flex"
When Astor was acquired in 2009, Flex was retired on January 6, 2010 after many years of service with Satellite Beach Police.
Flex is a German Shepherd born in Germany and began his career with Satellite Beach Police Department on Septemer 3, 2003. Flex completed over 2,000 training hours, including but not limited to: Tracking; Building Searches; Article & Evidence Searches; Area Searches; Criminal Apprehension; Handler Protection; Tactical Obedience; Performance under Gun Fire; Helicopter Deployment; Waterborne Apprehensions; and a Specialty in Narcotics Detection where he held both local and national certifications. As a K-9 Officer, Flex contributed to over 50 Building Searches, 50 Tracks, 20 Area Searches, 30 Public Relations Demonstrations, 3 Crowd Control Calls, 600 Drug Searches with 540 Search Confirmations (90% Accurancy), and 240 Arrests. He is also credited with saving the lives of 2 Satellite Beach officers on July 21, 2004 when he helped capture the suspected killer of a Orangeburg, South Carolina police officer and a convenience store clerk in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Flex retired on January 6, 2010 and is currently enjoying his retirement, chasing tennis balls and living with his handler's family (Sgt. Darren Frost).