Call for Artifacts: K-9 Law Enforcement History

Call for Artifacts: K-9 Law Enforcement History

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Photograph: New York Police Department officers and dogs, ca. 1900s. 2006.299.1.2. Collection of the National Law Enforcement Museum, Washington, DC.

The National Law Enforcement Museum is currently developing a temporary exhibit focused on K-9 law enforcement history, which will be installed in the Museum’s DuPont Gallery when its doors open in late 2015. But in order to share the rich history of K-9 policing, we need your help! The Museum seeks the donation of artifacts, original photographs, and original documents or publications related to K-9 law enforcement officers and their canine partners.

Police dogs have been an important part of American policing since the early 20th century, although accounts of dogs serving and protecting people date back more than 2,000 years.  In the United States today, modern police dog units, or K-9 Units, have developed sophisticated training programs that encompass detection, patrol, and search and rescue functions.

Books, (left) Jim, The Story of a Backwoods Police Dog by Charles G. D. Roberts, 1918, and (right) The Police Dog by David Brockwell, 1924. 2008.37.1 and 2008.73.1. Collection of the National Law Enforcement Museum, Washington, DC.
South Bend (IN) Police Department K-9 Unit
trading card, 2006. 2007.16.40.
Collection of the National Law Enforcement
Museum, Washington, DC.

With your help, the Museum hopes to build an exceptionally deep and broad collection of K-9 law enforcement-related artifacts that will support the exhibit’s overarching theme that dogs of different breeds and with specialized training and cross-training play a critical role in helping law enforcement effectively fight and prevent crime.

We are looking for historic and contemporary objects, photos, and other materials related specifically to K-9 law enforcement:

  • Equipment and related objects that were used daily by officers as they worked with their canine partners and that will highlight the relationship between the canines and their handlers;
  • Original photographs of police dogs and their handlers, including portraits and “action shots” taken at crime scene investigations;
  • Original documents, letters, official commendations, private notes or diaries, and other original written material relating to law enforcement officers working with or training their canine partners;
  • Equipment, photographs, documents, or other training materials related to training different dog breeds to work with law enforcement;
  • And objects, original photos and documents, press kits, promotional posters, and other material related to police dogs in television shows and film productions.

If you have original K-9-related materials that you are interested in donating to the National Law Enforcement Museum, please contact Vanya Scott, Registrar, at 202.737.7869 or


901 E Street, NW, Suite 100 | Washington, DC 20004-2025 | phone 202.737.3400 | fax 202.737.3405 |