(WBIR, Knoxville) - UT Medical Center is the first hospital in Tennessee with a full-time dedicated K-9 program.
The hospital made the announcement Thursday morning which was also the first day the K-9s were on the job.
Koda and Kimber, both Belgian Malinois, will be patrolling both inside and outside on hospital property.
Lieutenant Brandon Ingram says the dogs will be used in several capacities including drug detection. Ingram hopes Koda and Kimber will also make hospital visitors feel more safe.
"If anyone has any kind of bad intentions or maybe wants to cause any type of havoc, they'll see these guys walking around with these 70-pound Belgian Malinois, and hopefully they'll say hey this is not the place to do this at," said Ingram.
Hospital officials are also excited about the calming influence Koda and Kimber will have on patients.
A $25,000 grant from the medical center's auxiliary covered the cost of buying the dogs.
The handlers completed a five-week training at Cobra Canine before the start of the program.