YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A police K-9 training facility in the Hudson Valley takes us inside the world of a cop’s best friend.

Police dogs just might be the versatile members of any police department.

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“They are able to locate contraband for us, whether it is narcotics or evidence of a crime,” Officer Chris Barka with the Yonkers Police Department told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams. “They are able to detect explosives and they are also able to detect people hiding or missing and lost kids.”

Barka says when it comes to K-9s, the nose knows.

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“Their nose is about a million times more powerful than ours,” he said. “Like if you are making chicken soup, you smell chicken soup. The dog can smell the chicken, the potatoes, the rice, celery, carrots — they can smell different odors at once.”

Many police departments added German shepherds to the ranks after Sept. 11 for bomb detection. But they also make great patrol partners, says Ramapo K-9 Officer Andre Sanchez.

“A lot of people, once they see the K-9s show up, it works as a great deterrent,” Sanchez said.

Officers and their dogs in the Hudson Valley meet regularly to practice. At a time when police tactics and use of force are under scrutiny, K-9s offer another non-lethal option, says trainer and retired police chief Tom Conroy from Stafford, New Jersey.

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“It changes the picture,” he said. “It makes people think twice about things and of course, you are applying a less lethal amount. The only injury dogs can cause is soft tissue damage if he is deployed, but the goal there is that people say, ‘Hey, I see a dog, I know what is going to happen. I’m going to comply and walk away and everybody goes home safe.”