Well, “replacing” is a strong word, but then, it’s easy enough to draw some wacky conclusions—dogs in uniforms! dogs with billy clubs!— from this Daily News article pointing out that as the NYPD’s human ranks have dropped 17 percent over the past 12 years, the K-9 forces have almost doubled.
The uptick actually reflects a national trend for increased reliance on crime-fighting dogs, which can be helpful for bomb squad units, transit patrols, and even carrying cameras “to check out suspicious packages or give officers an inside view of a hostage standoff.”
It also doesn’t hurt that they’re far cheaper to maintain, with a cost of about $1,000 per dog per year, versus $76,488 for an officer that’s been on the job for over five years. So, make of it what you will. Practical administrative decision? Cost-cutting measure at the expense of jobs for humans? Slow descent into a future in which our city is run by adorable well-trained dogs from Eastern Europe? The latter sounds pretty alright to us.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.