Officer Paul Benfer with Livingston PD trains with "Lelu" (a Dutch Shepherd).
Law Enforcement Group, Saves Rescue Dogs, Turns Them Into Valuable Law Enforcement Tools...
CORRIGAN, February 4, 2015 - Law enforcement canine handlers from six different counties gathered in Corrigan on February 3 to train, and continue to hone their skills with their canine partners. What is a police dog? Is it a police officer? A friend? An extension of family? Actually, all of the above. The bond between a handler and his dog is not like any normal house pet and owner bond. There are blood sweat and tears poured into a police officer and K9 relationship. "We don't pick the dog, he picks us", That's the words for Rusk County Constable, Tim Barton. Barton, and other officers from East Texas are part of a group of men who go to rescue shelters for dogs, and seek out potential police dogs that can be trained in a variety of law enforcement jobs including, tracking, protection, and narcotics. "They're more than just tools, they're part of the family", said Officer Dakoda Hernandez with Corrigan Police Department. "K9’s are a magnificent tool to have at any department, not only to utilize in a patrol environment but a way to reach out to the community. I know personally for the Corrigan Police Department our K9 Heston has made a big difference in the department and the community", Hernandez said. These officers are members of National Canine Interdiction Association (NCIA). "The dog is not only a member of the Police Department but of a family and someone you have to trust with your life and vice versa. The NCIA focuses on the circle of life. For example, all of our K9s are rescue dogs that were saved from euthanasia. To go even further, we take the K9 and bring it into a good environment and began training. Not only does the handler have to learn the body language of a K9 but the multiple drives a K9 has. When we learn the body language of a K9 and their drives, then we began the training". All dogs in the NCIA are trained by the NCIA and not bought pre trained all. The narcotics, tracking, and apprehension is taught to the K9 by the handler. This is where the K9 gets a working and family relationship with the handler. "This is where the circle of life is implemented. The organization saves the K9’s and in return we utilize the K9’s to help the community by taking illegal narcotics off the street, apprehending dangerous suspects or finding somebody’s lost child or loved one with Alzheimer’s. In many ways the dog himself gives back to the community. Not only does an officer help change a k9’s life the rescue program but they gain a powerful tool to utilize in his or her everyday work environment.", Hernandez said. Hernandez continued, "Through the NCIA we have well over 13 K9’s that have been rescued and placed at different departments to be utilized. They have made a huge impact in the city or county their employed with. The K9’s function not only with the handlers and our families, but with other officers as well. The K9’s are trained to listen and decipher what is a threat and what is not a threat. For example, when tracking a lost and frightened child, him or her, the child needs to be consoled by the people surrounding not bit by an untrained K9. Most children look at Dogs like a security blanket and a safe and comfortable animal. With all of the emotions that come from a frightened child, a K9 could be a comforting thing see. In a situation like that, we do not need a violent approach where a child could be traumatized, however in other situations where we could be tracking a violent offender, we would take a different approach. Control plays a big part in the way we utilize our K9’s. Every situation is not always a threat".
Special thank you: Officer Dakoda Hernandez with Corrigan Police Department
Belgian Malinois seems to be the preferred choice of handlers.
Lelu is a Dutch Shepherd. Dutch Shepherds are reportedly a Belgian Malinois, but because of their brindle color are called a Dutch Shepherd.
(L - R) Brian Best and "Bruce" with Hallsville PD, Dakoda Hernandez and "Heston" with Corrigan PD, and Tim Barton, Rusk County Constable Pct. 3 and "Tigg".
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