Don’t be alarmed if you see packs of police dogs boarding helicopters, jumping from boats and maneuvering through the wet and rugged areas of southern Monroe County and northern Lawrence County next week.
More than 200 law enforcement officers and police dogs are participating in the extensive training opportunities offered during the American Police Canine Association’s 2018 national training conference.
Active-duty officers can receive 40 hours of law enforcement training credits by attending various lectures, guest speakers and classroom exercises.
But it’s the real-world training deployments that draw scores of police dog handlers from across the country and Europe, according to Michael Johnson, Mitchell Police Chief and president of the American Police Canine Association.
“We do a lot of field training, a lot of hands on,” he said.
The police dogs receive training with helicopters, boats, non-lethal simulation weapons and SWAT teams.
“The dogs are shown how to enter and exit the helicopter. They fly with the doors open. We have missions. When they land they are given an objective,” Johnson said.
Training courses and simulations include night helicopter deployments in rural environments, watercraft deployments, tactical work with SWAT teams, night felony arrests with simulation weapons, felony suspect vehicle extractions and more. The police dogs can also practice searches for narcotics, explosives and cadavers.
For handlers who want to work with their police dogs on behavioral and trust issues, a specialized instructor from Amsterdam has been scheduled to teach. Attorneys are also giving presentations on case law involving police dogs.
The American Police Canine Association’s national training conference starts on Sunday and continues through Thursday.
The Fourwinds Lakeside Inn and Marina has been booked for the event, hosted by members of the Bedford Police Department, Mitchell Police Department and Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office.