|KPD’s Blue Cat
A new program designed to cut costs and save lives, both human and feline, the Knoxville Police Department (KPD) has pioneered a pilot program in conjunction with the Knoxville Animal Rescue League called Blue Cat.
The idea was conceived by Police Officer Sgt. Buddy Smith, a 13 year veteran to KPD and an avid cat lover. Sgt. Smith said that â€œCats offer a solution to many of the problems faced by the average officer on the force now.â€
After a 13 week training program it is Sgt. Smith’s belief that the cats chosen for the program will be valuable to a police officer in the areas of criminal apprehension and personal protection. â€œCats,â€ he said â€œare the perfect size to aid in the apprehension of a criminal in many situations. Think about it, when a cat is clawing all about your head there is not much else on your mind.â€
What Sgt. Smith is referring to is a technique that the officer and cat learn in training. The technique involves the police officer grasping the Blue Cat officer by the tail, twirling the cat overhead two or three times then throwing the cat on the suspect’s head. Once landing upon the suspect the Blue Cat Officer allows instinct to take over and begins to â€œdistractâ€ the suspect allowing the KPD officer to move in for the apprehension.
â€œIf the criminal is still uncooperative, we carry a small can of â€˜Catnip’ spray which we spray on the suspect.â€ Said Sgt. Smith. â€œThis as the effect of encouraging the Blue Cat Officer.â€
Sgt. Smith said the only complaints he has had are from the suspects apprehended using this method. The most common complaint is over the missing patches of hair from atop the suspects head as well as multiple scratches about the head and face. â€œOnly in one case so far has a suspect required stitches or additional medical attention.â€
â€œWe are very excited about this project. Currently we are looking at assigning multiple Blue Cat Officers with regular KPD Officers and expand our efforts.â€ Smith said.
â€œIn the future we are looking at using those cats which do not qualify to become Blue Cat Officers as personal protection for the KPD Officers. They are just the right size to be strapped to the chest and back. We will be evaluating the cats ability to stop bullets, and we know they will keep our men and women on the streets warm.â€
A spokesman for the Knoxville Animal Rescue League said that KARL is in full support of this program. â€œWe hope it proves to be a win-win situation where we can find a home for some of our unwanted animals. It allows our animals to serve a noble purpose and live a productive life no matter how short it may be.â€