How to Become a K-9 MP in the Army Reserve


Got your heart set on joining the Army reserves and becoming a military police officer assigned to work with a canine? You’ll need time, tenacity and a passion for schooling but if you keep your eye on that goal, you’ll get there. It helps to be patient, love animals and have a keen intellect. And if you’ve got some education in law enforcement under your belt or time spent working with dogs, all the better.

Things You'll Need

  • Membership in Army Reserve
  • Explore your role in the Army Reserve by contacting an area recruiter to discuss your options and determine if you meet the qualifications set by the Army for its military police program. Chat online, in person or on the phone—all options are available. Make clear your objective: serving as a K9 MP or dog handler.

  • Take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). Successfully complete this hurdle so Army recruiters can evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, talents, proclivities and interests to determine whether the military police is a good pick from the hundreds of military occupational specialties offered by the Army.

  • Report to a processing station to be put through a battery of tests for admission into the Army. Expect to be given an extensive physical examination after which you will have an opportunity to choose law enforcement as your occupational objective. Be prepared to have your request turned down if officials don’t believe you fit the Corps' requirements.

  • Participate in mandatory basic training to indoctrinate you into Army life, teach you basics of combat and reinforce your soldiering experience. Move on to the 19 weeks of Military Police “One Station Unit Training” (OSUT) offered to those who are chosen after boot camp. Anticipate a combination of classroom and on-the-job instruction during your training experience.

  • Learn the ins-and-outs of civil law and jurisdiction, evidence collection, firearm usage, crime and accident investigative methods, arrest and restraint, crowd control and other security training skills during your tenure at OSUT. Consider accepting the Army’s invitation to take advanced level MP training if you perform above and beyond during your OSUT training.

  • Follow up on your quest for dog-handling training once you complete MP school. Understand upfront that dog handling is considered a high-ranking specialty most often given to members of the regular Army, so your status as a reservist could impact your selection. Consider converting your duty stature from reserve to regular Army, since even highly trained military police vets often must reenlist to be given a slot in what’s considered a plum assignment for any Army Corps member.

  • Expect to receive advanced dog-handling training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, the premier site for pairing military police with canine partners. Known as the epicenter of MP/K9 training since the Army Dog Training Center of Ft. Carson, Colorado was phased out in 1957, you’ll be assigned to the 341st Training Squadron, the hub for dogs and handler activity. Anticipate receiving 11 intense weeks of training before you and your dog are deployed to a domestic or overseas base to begin your work.

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