Putting police dogs to the test

Three furry, four-legged officers will be representing their respective area law enforcement agencies this weekend as they seek certification and compete in the Level I U.S. Police Canine Association trials in Mason County.

Rex is with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Barry, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office; and Brit, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Department of Public Safety.

More than 30 dogs from Michigan and Canada will be participating in the trials geared toward certification that started Friday and will be held at Mason County Central High School.

The event is hosted by the Mason and Lake county sheriff’s offices. It’s the second time the annual event has been held in Mason County.

Certification in the USPCA’s standards is required for Mason County’s police dogs. Other departments have different requirements. For example some counties say a police dog must be certified but don’t specify by what agency.

Rex, Mason County’s police dog, is certified by the USPCA every year.

See POLICE DOGS, A2

Lake County Chief Deputy Dennis Robinson commands his police dog, Barry, to be quiet during Thursday’s practice for K-9 trials in Scottville this weekend.

LISA ENOS | Daily News

Police dogs

from page A1

During the trials this weekend five judges will evaluate the dogs in obedience, agility, article search, suspect search, and all phases of criminal apprehension.

Having Rex certified in a process that is overseen by five judges each year is helpful if Mendham is called into court for a case and has to testify about the dog.

“It’s a positive thing for the sheriff’s office because it increases our training,” said Mason County Undersheriff Tom Trenner. “Training in this business is a good thing.”

Trenner said Mendham spent a lot of time building obstacles and setting up the event. He said he’s glad Lake County is co-hosting the event because of all the work involved.

Mendham said although the event is a certification for the dogs, it has turned into an competition and trophies are awarded.

Thirty three teams are registered for certification including four from Canada.

“Every dog here has the potential to win,” Mendham said of those participating.

Today’s events, article and subject searches, will begin at noon at the MCC football field. On Sunday, criminal apprehension trials will begin at 8 a.m. Trials wrap up both days at 5 p.m. These events are open to the public.

On Friday dogs were tested in obedience and agility.

The level II competition was held in mid-April in Kalamazoo.

Level II evaluates the dog’s ability to track the scent of a person, find articles of evidence left by that person on the track and to be able to follow the original track to when other scents and tracks are involved.

Mason County Sheriff’s Office

Rex

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