News-Sun photo by CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY Having tracked a suspect successfully during the K-9 competition, the dog's next task is to heel immediately when called. Points are deducted when a dog is not under complete control.
click any photo to view this story's photo gallery
published: Wednesday, May 22, 2013
GONE TO THE DOGS
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
SEBRING -- Some of the best four-legged and furry cops in the state are getting put through their paces in Sebring this week as the Highlands County Sheriff's Office is hosting the United States Police Canine Association's regional Police Dog 1 certification competition.
By achieving 490 points out of a possible 700, a police dog earns his certification. If a K-9 team scores 560 points or more, they qualify for the annual national competition in Washington D.C. later this year.
The USPCA competitions evolved because more and more law enforcement agencies acquired dogs. The USPCA mission is to create universal training standards.
Twenty-nine K-9 officers and their dogs are here from all over Florida, and as far away as New Orleans.
Jose Bosque is the president of the USPCA's Region 1 and a Lakeland Police Department K-9 handler himself.
"Over 70 agencies in our region now have K-9 teams," he said. "That's the highest number in 10 years." The single most important factor, he added is that, "you must have complete control of your dog at all times."
"There are more agencies with dogs now, but there are fewer certifications due to budget cuts," said Ron Bowling, a retired K-9 trainer and a judge at the competition.
In a series of trials, dogs and handlers must show proficiency at heeling and obeying sit, down and stay commands, from up close and from a distance.
Dogs must show agility over five different obstacles. They must locate and retrieve two items of evidence within three minutes. They have four minutes to locate a suspect hidden in one of six boxes. To make it more difficult, the same suspect moves from one box to another in between contestants, leaving his or her scent behind. The dog has to differentiate between the scent and the person. Dogs have to show they can stop a pursuit at command and return to their handlers.
The most crucial tests involve criminal apprehension, when a handler must have total control of the dog. Dogs have to bring down running suspects, with and without gunfire. Among several components, a dog has to have the ability to release on command, while also showing they can protect their handler during an assault without a command.
Five judges evaluate a team's performance. The high and low scores are discarded; the middle three averaged to arrive at a score.
The public is welcome to turn out and watch the action at the Sports Complex, 100 Sheriff's Tower Road (accessible only from Martin Luther Kind Boulevard).
The exciting criminal apprehension without gunfire trial be held today from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thursday starting at 8 a.m., the dogs have to apprehend a suspect under gunfire, and show they can protect their handlers when they are under attack.
For those without the time to attend the competition itself, there will be a demonstration of K-9 abilities at the Sebring High School football field at 7 p.m. Thursday.
K-9's (by: Heartland Fiscal Responsibility - 5/24/2013)
How much overtime is being used at the expense of taxpayers?
K-9 event (by: Linda Gough Glandt - 5/23/2013)
Good luck to all of the handlers and their K-9 partners. We appreciate all of you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for protecting us. Each of you put your lives on the line everyday and we pray God will keep you safe at all times.
Dogs (by: Blindman~ - 5/22/2013)
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man. ~Mark Twain
Small Banner Ads