K-9 patrol cars equipped with climate-controlled backseat

The two Grand Junction Police Department K-9 patrol cars are equipped with full ventilation systems that monitor heat and cold to keep the dogs safe and comfortable when they are in the vehicles.

Merlin and Nero have it pretty easy until it's time to work.

The two K-9 unit police dogs for the Grand Junction Police Department travel in a climate- controlled backseat to keep them comfortable.

Officer Trevor Hawkins said the department makes sure to spare no expense to keep the two dogs feeling their best.

"We cannot transport anyone, so that space is for them," Hawkins said about the backseat. "Everything in the backseat is one big dog kennel."

Whether it's the brutal heat of the summer or the freezing cold of winter, Nero, who is Hawkins' partner, and Merlin, who partners with officer Joey Gonzalez, will find the backseat to be safe and comfortable all year long.

"It's set up with four random heat and cool sensors, set up strategically to monitor hot and cold," Hawkins said of the system.

If the system fails, there's no worry because it's set up with an alarm system as well. And that system is just as high-tech as the climate system.

"If it gets too hot or too cold, we get alarms that start sounding. Windows (partially) roll down, fans kick in, horns sound.

"Even if we're not close to our (locked) cars, someone will know. Even if it's a citizen, who says 'Hey your car is sitting over here with the horn and alarm going off,' " he said.

Hawkins said it's all about keeping the animal in a safe environment in that backseat until it's time to get them out and put them to work.

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