Bellevue PD’s Best Boys

The Bellevue Police Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports the Bellevue Police Department with many special programs and events. One of their divisions, however, helps produce some extra special good boys for our community’s safety. Here’s the history behind the beloved K-9 fleet.

The K-9 program began in 1973, and it was one of the first in the state. Since then, they have purchased and trained dozens of dogs—mostly German shepherds or Belgian Malinois—and spent more than 300 hours training them to assist officers. “There are a few ways our dogs add skills to the team of officers,” says Officer Scott White. “First, they increase security for our officers during difficult and dangerous situations. Also, you can’t replicate their noses with any form of technology. It’s a tool that is very unique.”

“When we send a dog in pursuit of a suspect, all they need is the smallest scent. It could be as little as a few skin cells left in a car,” says Officer Ben Bradley, handler for Walter (the dog seen in the photos). Once the dogs, like Walter, have a scent, they will track suspects hiding or on the run with a quickness and relentlessness that is unmatched. Then, they are trained to bite suspects, holding them down until officers can arrive to the scene. But, they are far from vicious dogs when they aren’t commanded to pursue criminals on the run. “Our dogs each have their own personalities. Most have zero hard feelings; they are in it for the pets—they want all the loves,” says Officer Robin Peacey, lead officer of the K-9 program. “We pick out the dogs based on sociability and prey drive.”

And part of the reason why these dogs are this way is because of the specific training methods. While these dogs are “bite dogs,” they are trained using only positive reinforcement. “About eight years ago, we switched our approach to K-9 training drastically. We went from a more negative reinforcement to positive reinforcement system,” Peacey says. “And it made such a difference.

All About Walter

Facts from his best bud and handler, Officer Ben Bradley

His Background: Walter is a mix of German shepherd and Belgian Malinois. He turned 4 in June. He has been with me for about three years and he has been certified as a police dog since September of 2021.

Way to His Heart: His favorite treat is duck jerky.

Biggest Case: Last year, a total of seven suspects stole two cars from an apartment complex in Bellevue. One of the stolen cars rammed a Kirkland Police Officers car, and two suspects fled from it. One of the suspects was caught on foot by a patrol officer. The other suspect was tracked and located by one of our other dogs, K9 Kole. The other stolen vehicle was partially disabled by spike strips, and then crashed a few miles later. The suspects fled from that vehicle as well. K9 Walter tracked them for over a mile and located three suspects.

Weird Habit: His weirdest quirk is that he will eat anything that fits down his throat: small balls, sticks, stuffed animals, and occasionally pieces of gravel.

Training Tip: Dogs will work way harder for positive rewards than they will to avoid being punished. Read the book “Don’t Shoot the Dog” by Karen Pryor. You will learn about, and understand, operant conditioning, and the sky is the limit for what you can train a dog to do.

Hobbies: When he’s not working, Walter enjoys playing fetch, playing with the dog next door, and most of all, being pet.

Best Quality: Police K-9s are often unsung heroes of police work. Unlike humans, they don’t choose this line of work. Yet they love it and go to work every day excited.


The Bellevue Club has supported the Bellevue Police Foundation for many years. Enjoy a round? Join us in fundraising and participate in the upcoming 3rd Annual Golf Tournament & Banquet on August 20
at the Golf Club at Newcastle. 

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