Recently, Texarkana Arkansas Police K-9 Officers Jeff Savage with K-9 ‘Zorg’, Randy McAdams with K-9 ‘Gus’ along with the Texarkana Texas Police K-9 Officers Jason Green with K-9 ‘Berry’ and Bo Carter with K-9 ‘Ide’ (pronounced ‘E-day’) attended the annual United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) Regional Canine certification and competition near Jackson, Mississippi. This certification tests all aspects of K-9 handling including patrol functions and narcotics detection, which the handler and dog have to pass to continue working together at their law enforcement agency. In addition to certification, the handlers and their dogs compete against other teams within the region for placement in several categories including the prestigious Top Handler and Dog award.
K-9 Officers must be committed to a demanding training regimen to ensure the team performs at peak performance in police patrol, odor detection functions, as well as annual certifications. Both police departments in Texarkana adhere to guidelines set forth by the United States Police Canine Association the largest organization to certify and set standards for service dogs in the world. Sergeant Joe Bennett stated, “We want a standard of training that is not only court recognized but also maintains the purpose and scope of both departments Canine Policies.”
The dogs we use are select Shepherds and Belgian Malinois, imported from Europe which have passed a rigorous testing program and then specifically trained to our chosen application which incorporates positive reinforcement techniques. Sgt. Bennett adds, “We want the citizens of Texarkana to be assured that the dogs both Police Departments use are safe and reliable. The K-9 officers handling these dogs are trained to implement procedural guidelines that control and direct all activity surrounding the deployment of the Canine Team.” Our most common use of the canines is for crime prevention and control methods. The K-9 Team is considered a valuable asset to any police department.
While attending the annual certification, all K-9 teams performed at or well above the recognized standard. The certification process is a weeklong testing and evaluation procedure which includes six areas of assessment; Obedience, Agility, Evidence search, Suspect Search, Criminal Apprehension and Odor Detection for narcotics or whatever odor imprinting a law enforcement agency uses. The competition included 17 canine teams, some of which have been recognized nationally during previous certifications. Texarkana was represented well in Jackson, Mississippi. The four police canine handler and dog teams of Texarkana Arkansas and Texas earned 1st Place overall as a complete team due to their combined final scores. This is a first for Texarkana in USPCA Region 26, which includes officers from Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas. Remarkably, two of the four officers from Texarkana have been handlers for less than a year. In addition to the 1st Place team award, Officer Jeff Savage with K-9 ‘Zorg’ earned third place in the Obedience category.
Officer Randy McAdams with K-9 ‘Gus’ earned 1st place in Evidence Detection, 2nd Place in Criminal Apprehension, as well as the 1st Place Team award. Officer McAdams and K-9 ‘Gus’ performed well above the acceptable level by earning 2nd Place overall, which qualifies them for national competition. (The top five handlers and dogs of the competition qualify to compete on the national level against canine teams from all over the United States.)
Officer Jason Green with K-9 ‘Berry’ placed high enough at the Regional Narcotic Detector competition to qualify on the national level. Officer Green and K-9 ‘Berry’ competed against approximately 60 other K-9 teams from all across the United States and placed within the top ten. This shows this team to be one of the best narcotic detector teams in the nation.
The placement of our K-9 handlers and dogs in this competition are a testament to the quality of K-9 officers and canines we have here in the Texarkana area. The quality of canines that both the Texarkana Arkansas and Texas Police Department have would not be possible without the unwavering support and assistance of the Texarkana community.
Thank you and you can visit the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department online at http://www.txkusa.org/arkpolice.
Officer Kristi Mitchell
Public Information Officer