NHC Sheriff’s Office hosts 2021 K-9 trials to showcase skills

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 8:26 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office is hosting this year’s USPCA Nationals Police K-9 Trials.

“Everybody has worked extremely hard to get here,” said Cpl. Jason Cummings. “First of all, everybody has had to get a minimum score requirement at the regional level to even qualify to come to the nationals. Now that they’re here, they want to show off their best for the agencies and hometowns.”

Teams were at Veterans Park at 8 a.m. this morning to kick off the criminal apprehension event, but K-9 handlers and their dogs have been showcasing their skills all week including obedience, agility, suspect search and evidence recovery.

“This is our opportunity to show off our dogs and enjoy sharing with the public what we do. The public’s been here all week and they’ve been great and we’ve been really excited to be the host agency.”

Today’s trials involved the K-9 staying by its handler as a decoy runs away, listening to their handler’s recall as a decoy runs away, a successful apprehension and a pat-down of the suspect while the K-9 waits nearby.

Tomorrow, the trials continue with *another suspect apprehension trial — but with a few key differences.

“What will basically happen: the decoy will fire off a couple blanks, the dog will go down and apprehend the suspect, we’ll do our pat-down again but during the pat-down, the actual suspect will assault the handler, the dog will reengage to protect its handler, and that’ll be the exercise that they’re judging,” said Cummings.

It’s been a rainy week for the trials so far, but that hasn’t stopped the teams from putting forth their best effort.

“The handlers, I’m sure, are extremely affected, because there’s a lot of folks here from the middle part of the country that haven’t experienced this good, tropical weather that we’re having, but we have a saying in K-9: if it’s raining we’re training.”

(Photo Credit: Sara Ashenfelter)

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