When Stamford Police Officer Logan Pavia, dressed in a heavily padded protective suit, hid in the back corner of a darkened school gymnasium, he knew it wouldn't be long before he would be discovered — and by a 3-year-old at that.

The youngster is 3-year-old McGee, one of the Stamford Police Department's new K-9 dogs that aid their human counterparts in solving crimes with their extraordinary sense of smell. The department has seven canines, including five German shepherds that were bred in Hungary and a bloodhound from Texas used for tracking. The seventh is a black Labrador that will be used exclusively for bomb detection when it comes on board in March.

"The dogs save officers countless man hours of search time and never make a mistake," says Sgt. Richard Phelan, K-9 supervisor for the Stamford Police Department. The K-9 cops recently returned to duty in Stamford after an absence of nearly 25 years.

Stamford officers go through an eight-week training course to begin their service as K-9 handlers and then spend weeks bonding with their dogs. The dogs live with their handlers.

Officer Mark Tymon and his dog Titan were called to investigate a house break-in last month and found a back door broken open. Tymon called out to a seemingly empty house, "Stamford police with a K-9; anyone inside the house speak to me now or I'm sending in the dog." Within seconds, a man appeared with his hands up, eager to surrender.

The K-9s also conduct public demonstrations of their talents as a way of educating the public of their benefit to law enforcement. Contact the Stamford Police Department at 4 to learn when a demonstration can be scheduled in your neighborhood.

Would you like to see a K-9 cop in action? Do you think they are a good addition to the force? Leave a comment below!