K-9 Police Work. Separating Fact from Fiction. Atlantic City Public Safety.

Officer Devlin & K-9 Officer Clancy of ACPD.

Police dogs can be an extremely polarizing topic. Technically known as K-9 officers. Beautiful, sweet animals that can also be quite intimidating.

The proper use of canines in public safety is both common and misunderstood. The benefits of K-9 officers are indisputable. But the K-9 does come with liabilities, just like tasers, batons, firearms and handcuffs.

Retired Atlantic City Police Officer, John Devlin, has first hand knowledge of those benefits and liabilities.

In this exclusive ACprimetime interview, we learn much more about the oft-misunderstood Police K-9.

Listen to interview with ACPD officer (retired) John Devlin >


The Devlin family was in the Atlantic City fish business for decades. They tried, unsuccessfully, to get John to follow in the family foot steps. But it was police work that caught the attention of Devlin, one of 5 kids within this large Irish family.

While serving in the military, Devlin became interested in how dogs were being trained and utilized. As part of an elite unit of AC public safety, Devlin and his K-9 partner, ‘Clancy’, worked closely together as a team.

K-9 Demonstration At Margate Dog Show
K-9 Demonstration At Margate Dog Show

Notes from the interview:

  • K-9’s are excellent as a tool in de-escalation tactics. Barking is one such example. Mounted officers on large horses also send the same signal.
  • Clancy is a Belgian Malinois. An ‘alpha’ dog, leader of the pack.
  • Clancy was born in France ( originally named Elios )
  • K-9. An elite unit within public safety
Irish Pub Provided Funding for Clancy.

To get into K-9 training academy, Officer Devlin needed a dog. AC didn’t have funds at the time to purchase one. He needed to go raise funds on his own.

$7,000 was needed. Many wanted to chip in, including Cathy Burke of The Irish Pub.

Burke said to Devlin: I’ll give you the whole amount right now, if you do one thing. Name the dog Clancy, after Cathy’s own dog who recently passed.

80% of K-9 work is tracking. Narcotics, explosives, missing persons.

Any type of ‘mechanical’ force can turn into a liability.

  • Batons
  • Taser
  • Pepper Spray
  • Firearms
  • Handcuffs

The Belgian Malinois excels in police and military suspect apprehension, explosives and narcotic detection, search and rescue. They’re great service dogs too.

K-9 Officer Clancy, ACPD Retired.

Because the breed is primarily a working dog, it has some of the most extensive health testing of any breed. While veterinary tests and diagnostics can rule out genetic disorders, being able to work demanding jobs like police and military work requires that the dog be both physically and mentally sound for many years. The Malinois one of the healthiest dog breeds in existence.

Belgian Malinois is a medium-to-large breed of dog, sometimes classified as a variety of the Belgian Shepherd dog.

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Watchful, Alert, Confident, Hard-working, Protective, Friendly, Active. The Belgian Malinois is a high-energy breed with a need for regular mental and physical stimulation. He is alert, smart and serious, an ideal watchdog and guard dog. The Malinois is protective of his home and family.

Dogs were pulled off street for a short period of time in AC. Police Chief & Mayor were in disagreement at that time, over deployment benefits of K-9.

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