The Thomasville Police Department’s K-9 unit has recently returned from the United States Police Canine Association (USCPA) annual K9 Competition and Certifications, where TPD earned high marks in all phases of competition. The event, held February 20-24, in Brandon, Mississippi (Region 26) included events in areas such as Obedience, Agility, Narcotics Detection, and Criminal Apprehension. Three K-9 teams from TPD participated.
“I am extremely proud of this K-9 unit,” said Thomasville Police Chief Troy Rich. “Each of the officers and their K-9’s represented our agency extremely well in this regional competition.”
The TPD K-9 teams consisted of K-9 handler Corporal Grady Shiver and K-9 Tank, K-9 Handler Branden Kent and K-9 Koda and K-9 Handler Haley Jensen and K-9 Kaiko. The K-9 unit is led by Corporal Grady Shiver. “Corporal Shiver has done an excellent job leading our teams,” said Chief Rich.
TPD K-9 teams competed against 18 other teams from the states of Georgia and Mississippi. “Competing in a competition against my peers will always be a challenge to me, the last thing I want to do is fall short of the expectations of my peers,” said Corporal Shiver. “It was a great honor for Tank and I to go into these trials and compete against other handlers and their canines.”
The trio had outstanding performances throughout the weekend, taking home individual and team awards. Corporal Shiver and Tank finished in 1st place Criminal Apprehension and Combined Obedience and Apprehension. Handler Kent and Koda took home 3rd place Criminal Apprehension and 4th place Overall Patrol Dog. As a team TPD’s units placed 1st in Patrol Dog Team. “All of our K-9 team members should be proud of the awards,” said Shiver.
Corporal Shiver attributes the success of TPD’s K-9 units to a positive team mentality and relentless training. “These are team awards, we cannot train alone. They validate the hard work that goes into training and maintaining our partner’s skill level,” said Corporal Shiver. “Over the years the K-9 teams have completed hundreds of K-9 demos where they have the opportunity to demonstrate the skills that both the K-9 and the handlers have developed. I am proud of our unit and our accomplishments.”
K-9 teams were first implemented by the TPD in the late 1980’s. “They have been a valuable asset to the organization and community ever since,” says Rich. “Throughout the years our K-9 teams have been responsible for tracking and apprehending violent felony fugitives, seizing drugs, arresting drug dealers, and recovering weapons used in crimes while providing mutual aid for other law enforcement agencies when requested.”
“Our K-9 teams are valuable resources for our community relations efforts,” said Rich. “Teaching and interacting with our youth is one of the biggest impacts our K-9’s have made throughout our community.”
Pictured above: K-9 Handler Haley Jensen and K-9 Kaiko participating in Agility Exercise