'He's not some mean junkyard dog': Chattanooga police officer shares what it's like having a K-9 partner

Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Officer Lucas Timmons and his K-9 Burt pose for a portrait at Chattanooga Police Department Headquarters on Monday, Dec. 20, 2021 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Officer Lucas Timmons of the Chattanooga Police Department's K-9 unit, has to educate people about his canine partner, a Belgian Malinois named Burt.

"He's not some mean junkyard dog, he is trained to bite people on command, and he has done that to keep officers safe and citizens safe," said Timmons, who's been with the department for a little over 16 years and part of the K-9 unit for more than a decade. "I like to get the message across that it's not like a chainsaw swinging around at the end of a rope, they're highly motivated and highly trained to do their job."

Timmons and Burt sometimes represent Chattanooga in competitions, most recently the "Detection Dog Challenge" on ESPN2.

"It was a great time. Being in the K-9 unit, obviously you love dogs and you have a lot of common interest, so every time you can get around K-9 handlers especially, you already have so many things in common so you really hit it off with people," Timmons said.