Working with a police dog is much more than a job. It's a life-long partnership that only a select number of officers take on.
For Kevin Hamilton, his bond with K9 Spike is just beginning.
"From day one, he was very energetic, but we had no issue bonding. He's happy to work, and that's what all these dogs like to do. They like to work," said Hamilton, of the Binghamton Police K9 Patrol.
Hamilton and Spike just completed six weeks of training in California, though it wasn't always easy.
"Every day, getting into a bite suit, taking a lot of bites from different dogs. It's a lot of work and a lot of bonding that goes into a dog," said Hamilton.
The training, and Spike himself, were funded through the Community Foundation for South Central New York.
"Without that money, there's no way that we could afford such a quality dog and quality training. The community keeps us going, and we're just so happy to serve," said Chris Bracco, the head of the Binghamton Police Department K9 Unit.
The two-year-old Belgian Malinois learned to locate articles of evidence, explosives, and even people.
"The canines can search large areas in a quick amount of time and we've had a decent success rate or not only locating autistic children missing people, but also suspects," said Bracco.
In a time when some in the community may feel disconnected from police, officers hope K9s can help bridge that gap.
"It gets people to kind of trust us a little bit more, because everyone has a pet around Binghamton, most people do. Just seeing the dogs quite frequently, and how these dogs work and special they are and what work goes into them and what they can do," said Hamilton.
You can stay on top of all of Spike's ventures through the Friends of Binghamton PD K9 Facebook page.