K-9 teams from across state certify, perform demo at local high school

Photo By Rick Harris
K-9 Officer Chuck Garner and his partner K-9 Kilo, of the Blount County SheriffÕs Office, demonstrate a take-down maneuver on fellow Blount County K-9 Officer Steve Anderson at Unaka High School Tuesday afternoon.

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
Officers and their K-9 partners from across the state traveled to Carter County this week to attain their certification with the United States Police Canine Association to work as detector dogs and handlers.
A total of 30 dog teams from 16 county and city law enforcement agencies in Tennessee participated in the 2003 USPCA Detector Dog Trials, which was hosted by Carter County this year. Earlier this year, the USPCA's Patrol Dog Trials were held in Johnson City.
According to Carter County Sheriff's Department Deputy Sarah Ryan who worked to coordinate the training event, 24 narcotics detection teams, three explosive detection teams, two cadaver detection teams and one accelerant detection team participated in the trials.
As part of the trials, some of the participating teams gave a demonstration at Unaka High School Tuesday afternoon in an effort to "demonstrate to the students the dogs from different areas of Tennessee, their skills and introduce them to the handlers," said Ryan.
As part of the demonstration, CCSD Deputy Loretta Cloyd, who along with her partner K-9 Sgt. Bubba works as the resource officer at Unaka High School, demonstrated for the students how the K-9s can be used in drug detection. "She had three buckets filled with water and one of the buckets had a quantity of marijuana submerged in the water using the water as a concealment method," Ryan said, adding that Sgt. Bubba had given a positive alert on the bucket which contained the marijuana.
Students were also treated to a group obedience demonstration when four K-9 teams took to the field to showcase the animals' training. Ryan along with her partner K-9 Sgt. Kabor, participated in the event with Elizabethton Police Department Patrol Officer Richard Haney and K-9 Sonja; Blount County Sheriff's Office K-9 Officer Steve Anderson and K-9 Robbie; and Maryville Police Department K-9 Officer Steve Roy and K-9 Erak.
The officers walked through a variety of exercises and commanded their dogs to perform actions such as sitting, laying down and standing as well as walking or running at specific speeds using a variety of verbal as well as hand commands.
The final portion of the demonstration consisted of what is called a bail out technique which was demonstrated by Blount County Sheriff's Office Corporal Chuck Garner and his K-9 partner Kilo and using Anderson as the dog's decoy. The bail out demonstration was used to show how the K-9s are used to protect their handlers when a situation escalates.
During the demonstration, Anderson was acting as the suspect and Garner drove his vehicle toward him, parked the vehicle and exited. As Garner exited the vehicle, Anderson drew a gun and fired two blank round shots and K-9 Kilo "bailed out" of Garner's police cruiser and apprehended Anderson, who was wearing a special bite sleeve on his arm for protection.
In order to be certified as a detector dog through the USPCA, both the handler and the K-9 have to participate in a series of tests which gauge the ability of not only of the K-9 to give a positive identification of a substance, but also of the handler to recognize when their partner is alerting them. The tests are performed both indoors and outdoors.
Narcotics detection dogs are used to detect the presence of narcotics during a search. Accelerant detection dogs are used to investigate the suspicions of arson when a structure or other area has burned. Explosive detection dogs are used to search for explosives, bombs or other incendiary devices. Cadaver dogs are used to search areas for individuals who are missing and have been presumed dead.