BREVARD HISTORY: Titusville Police Chief Jim Erwin Credited With Establishing TPD’S First K-9 Corps in 1960s

By  //  August 21, 2020

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Titusville Police Department now has four K-9 teams providing 24-hour availability

THE TITUSVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT IN 1967, from left to right standing in front TPD’s first traffic vehicle: Lieutenant Ernie Bean, Chief James “Jim” Erwin, K-9 “Wolf,” W.J. Bohannon, Lieutenant Jerry Eads and K-9 Patrolman and Trainer Bernard “Bernie” Palisi with K-9 “Satan.” (TPD image)

BREVARD COUNTY • TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA – Titusville Police Chief Jim Erwin is credited with establishing the Titusville Police Department’s first K-9 Corps, later called the K-9 Unit.

K-9 Patrolman Bernard “Bernie” Palisi was placed in charge of the K-9 Unit, having a background in K-9 training prior to joining TPD.

K-9 Patrolman Palisi trained TPD’s 1st K-9’s “Wolf” and “Satan,” both German Shepherds.

The K-9’s spent the first five to six months of their training learning police tactics such as attack on command, tracking, fetching, building searches, protection of his master, jumping hurdles, teaching right from wrong, and learning when a person is playing around or when the person is seriously attacking.

As with all dogs, a police dog’s training began with obedience, as it still does today, and learning the five basic commands – sit, stay, come, heel, and down, while on the leash and off, with verbal commands and finally by hand gestures only.

The cost to train each dog back then was approximately $500 to $600.

The Titusville Police Department now has four K-9 tems, providing 24-hour availability.

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