GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Every week, Corewell Health’s K-9 security teams simulate bomb sniffing and apprehension exercises at various sites around Grand Rapids.

In West Michigan, there are a total of seven K-9 teams assigned to various hospitals within the Corewell Health system. Five of them regularly patrol the hallways, hospital rooms and neighboring parking structures in downtown Grand Rapids.

“We utilize dogs as an extra layer of security and safety to help protect our patients, our visitors and our staff throughout the hospital system,” said Cooper Watkins, Lead Security Police Officer.

When the dogs aren’t training or assessing a potential threat, the teams also spend time at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, where they offer emotional support and love to anyone who may need a quick cuddle.

“We do pick the dogs that are a lot more social than another department might because we want them to be able to come in and interact with the patients,” Watkins said.

The K-9 units also assist in nearby community policing. Watkins said within the past month they helped clear a bomb threat at a school in Fremont.

“They are asked to do a lot of various tasks and they have to be ready at any moment to act,” he said.

The K-9 units are funded entirely through donations via the Spectrum Health Foundation.