Multiple law enforcement agencies joined forces for a training with their canine officers.
In the state of North Dakota, around 35 dual-purpose canines are in the field every day for scenarios like searches, drug detection and evidence recovery.
“It’s a lot more than training the dog. It’s about training officers to work with the canine handler and the dog on how to negotiate corners and how to go through areas where there may be hides or things that may present a threat to them,” explained Andrew Helgerson, the owner of Minnesota Canine Consulting.
Canines along with their handlers worked side by side patrol officers to practice blocking techniques, risk management and threat assessment.
“So this is just a reassurance that the handlers do know what they’re doing. It builds the officer’s confidence in the dog so that way when we’re on the field it can go a little smoother than if we’re second-guessing ourselves, the handler or the dog, ” Alex Weiand, officer with Bismarck Police Department.
“To be able to participate in this kind of training really widens my perspective and all the capabilities of the canines,” said Joe Parsons, officer with Bismarck Police Department.
The training also allows for patrol officers who don’t work every day with their four-legged colleagues to become familiar with the process.
“Getting the dogs out around different patrol officers and different people from different agencies. She becomes people familiar in uniform. Whether it’s us wearing the dark blue or county showing up brown. She’s used to, ‘OK, these guys are good,'” explained Christopher Zabel, K9 handler with Bismarck Police Department.
“My back up is right in my back seat and so if I can build that confidence between myself and the dog to be able to work on situations together and then incorporating, introducing that dog to other law enforcement officers that are going to assist on calls, that’s going to make us that much of a stronger team,” said Stephen Byrne, Chief of Police for Belfield Police Department.
Agencies included in this week’s training were Bismarck and Belfield Police Departments, along with the Burleigh, Dunn and Ward County Sheriff’s Departments.