The Fort Morgan Police Department’s K-9 team achieved certification by a national police canine organization last week, and also earned recognition as the outstanding canine team in Colorado in the process.
FMPD Sgt. Jim Parks and K-9 Officer Carr participated in Patrol Dog 1 (PD 1) certification trials conducted by the United States Police Canine Association in Colorado Springs on Saturday, Aug. 5.
USPCA is a nationally recognized organization and FMPD canine officers have completed its drug and tracking certification programs since the inception of the local K-9 program. But this is the department’s first PD 1 certification, which is much more difficult and requires specific equipment and training that have not always been easily available, according to FMPD Commander Loren Sharp.
In addition to passing the PD 1 certification requirements, at the end of Saturday’s trials Parks and Carr were recognized as the outstanding canine team for Colorado, Sharp said.
Seven officer-dog teams participated in the PD 1 trials, which usually cover two days but were condensed to one day this year. The certification involves the K-9 team showing proficiency in multiple aspects of patrol work including obedience, an agility course, box searches (six large wooden boxes with a suspect inside one of them), an article search (searching for evidence with human scent in a selected outdoor area), biting a suspect when ordered, recalling the dog after deployment, and getting the dog to stop biting on command.
Carr injured his leg slightly on the agility course and was held out of some of the testing as a precautionary measure, Sharp said, which cost the Fort Morgan team some points. Carr’s article search was completed in only 46 seconds, which is remarkably fast, Sharp said. The box search also was done very well, he said, while other teams struggled in that area.
As a result, the Fort Morgan team brought home a special award for being the Outstanding K-9 Team in addition to a certificate stating that they had achieved the desired rating of excellence in the PD 1 certification trials.
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