Archive for k-9 cops

Working As A Team-Waskom PD’s K9s bring home top honors

Posted in police dog teams, police dogs with tags , , , , , , , on May 9, 2009 by wardogmarine

Sometimes small town police departments have the biggest hearts, especially when it comes to K9s.

Waskom Police Department’s K9 partnerships, Officer Forrest Mitchell with K9 Harley and Officer Dwayne Longmire with K9 Caesar proved just that at the 2009 National Narcotic Detector Dog Association conference.
smalltown teams

Terri Hahn/News Messenger
Officer Dwayne Longmire with K9 Caesar and Officer Forrest Mitchell with K9 Harley took top honors in the teams competition at the 2009 National Narcotic Detector Dog Conference in Corpus Christi.

“For four dogs from Harrison County to place in the top 50 percent is saying great things about Harrison County K9s,” said Mitchell, who added that two of the dogs placed in the top 20 percent.

The conference was April 20 through April 24 in Corpus Christi and included 160 K9 contestants from 28 states.

Waskom’s two K9s and their human handlers worked together to take first in teams. Harley placed third overall, which earned him the Mike Brown Award for Top Malinois. Caesar placed 33 overall.

“That’s what (Mitchell) said before we went, that more than anything he’d like to bring back a trophy for teams,” said Longmire.

Brown was a legendary Malinois trainer, renowned for his deep rapport and communication with his dogs. The comparison to Brown is a deserved honor for Mitchell, Longmire said.

In their first year to compete at the NNDDA’s annual competition, Harrison County Sheriff’s Deputy Randy Payne and K9 Rusty took 40th place and Deputy Brian Best with K9 Bruce took 72nd overall.

“This was Harrison County’s first year to compete and with young dogs. They will be real contenders next year,” predicted Mitchell.

Officer Mitchell has been at the Waskom Police Department for three years. He owns both dogs and has been working with Harley in narcotics detection for four years.

Mitchell also trained Caesar in narcotics detection while at the Jefferson Police Department, where he worked one year before coming to Waskom.

Harley is a 13-year-old Belgian malinois. This was his third year to compete in the NNDDA narcotics competition placing 104th his first year and 19th last year in Jackson, Miss. “I was thinking about retiring him because of his age, but with the heart he showed in the competition, I’m going to keep him in,” said Mitchell

Officer Longmire, an animal lover like Mitchell, has been working with Caesar for a year since getting to know the 5-year-old German shepherd while renting an apartment near Mitchell.

“This is my first year to compete with Caesar though I have with other dogs while working as a K9 officer in New London,” said Longmire, who has been at WPD since 2007 and has two years of K9 experience from New London Police Department.

Caesar placing 33rd was a major accomplishment for the K9 as he had been three years retired and only trained from January to April before the competition.

“We practice a little bit and he worked vehicles well. Even with the distractions of the highway, he went back to work like he had last stepped out of the car yesterday,” said Longmire.

Both men took the time to honor their own dog training mentors. Longmire credited his K9 knowledge to David Dockins and Scott McCally who taught him how to train and bond.

“Placing so well also says great things about Forrest and his work with in Jefferson for Caesar to place so well,” said Longmire.

Mitchell credited Karen Bush and Norm Gardener of Blanchard, La., who showed him how to train dogs and also gave Harley to him four years ago.

“Harley’s success has progressed over the years and he has matured a lot in the competitions,” said Mitchell. “Having a good dog in your department and trusting him is a big benefit to the department.”

Anyone who would like to see Mitchell, Longmire, Harley and Caesar in action can attend a K9 demonstration during a Drug Awareness Program at 3:30 p.m. on May 28 at New Hope Apartments in Waskom.

About 300 dogs and their handlers attended the 2009 NNDDA Conference though not all competed in the narcotics competition. Next year’s competition will be in Bossier City, La. For more information about the NNDDA visit


Military Working Dog strengthens community ties

Posted in air force teams with tags , , , , , , on May 9, 2009 by wardogmarine

By Airman 1st Class Justin Shelton, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
May 7, 2009 – 7:18:59 PM
Blackanthem Military News

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. – The 22nd Security Forces Squadron performed a military working dog demonstration for more than 200 elementary school students at Wichita Collegiate School April 24.

Team McConnell fostered a greater bond with the local community as well as the Marine Corp by coming out to perform a MWD demonstration and to speak to the students about their canines.
Tech. Sgt. Daniel Bechtel, 22nd Security Forces Squadron kennel master, answers questions about military working dogs during a demonstration at Wichita Collegiate School April 24. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Justin Shelton)    

The children had a vested interest in learning about MWDs because they spent a year raising a golden retriever named Trinidad, to become a service dog. The children raised the dog until it was old enough to be sent to the Canine Assistance Rehabilitation Education and Services Corporation.

Raymond Geoffroy, assistant deputy commandant, plans, policies, and operations at the Pentagon, visited and spoke to the children about working dogs and their service dog. He spoke about how MWDs have helped the military for many years and about how service dogs help people all over the world.
“I want everyone to know that dogs really are man’s best friend, not only from the standpoint of helping the elderly, but also from a military standpoint,” said Mr. Geoffroy.
Mr. Geoffroy played a MWD video and then introduced McConnell’s kennel master, Tech Sgt. Daniel Bechtel, along with dog handlers Staff Sgts. Max Soto and Michael Shelite, Senior Airmen Paul Quilty and Billy Lofton, all from the 22nd Security Forces Squadron. Sergeant Bechtel spoke briefly about MWDs and how the Air Force uses them to assist in finding dangerous substances such as bombs and drugs.
Sheryl, one of McConnell’s working dogs, was lead out by her handler, Airman Lofton, to perform a short demonstration of what she does on a regular basis. Airman Lofton guided Sheryl along a series of suitcases in front of the stage, where she found no suspicious objects. Sheryl is nine years old and is nearing her date of retirement.
After the demonstration Sergeant Bechtel answered questions about MWDs and their use in the Air Force.

Man’s Best Friend

Posted in Marine dog teams with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2009 by wardogmarine

5/8/2009  By
Pvt, Spencer M. Hardwick,
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort 

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C.  — It’s always been said, although the originator of the phrase is unknown, that a dog is a man’s best friend.

Corporal James Duck knows the depth of such a statement; his job, better still, his life revolves around this four-legged creature. He is a military police canine handler with the Provost Marshals Office and he spends his days taking care of, and training, his dog, Bancuk. Bancuk is a six-year-old Belgian Malinois and has deployed to Iraq as a working dog three times. Duck and Bancuk deployed together to Fallujah, Iraq as part of II Marine Expeditionary Force.
Bancuk, a military working dog, works aboard the Air Station with handler Cpl. James Duck, a military police dog handler with the Provost Marshals Office, Monday.

“I’ve been here close to three years and I’ve had her for about half that,” Duck said, “I really love her; I consider her one of my best friends. I look at her like I would my child.”

While in garrison, Duck and Bancuk conduct random vehicle checks, health and comfort inspections for barracks rooms and walking patrols. They work here at the Air Station, as well as Laurel Bay, Marine Corps Recruit Deport Parris Island and Naval Hospital Beaufort. Handlers are normally solely responsible for their dog. However, sometimes other Marines help out around the kennel.

A handler’s duty overseas, however, is a totally different story.

“She was with me twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week,” Duck said. “That dog did not leave my side the entire time I was there. Every patrol I went on, every cache sweep … she stayed with me.”

Based in Fallujah, Duck and Bancuk frequently ventured out to various forward operating bases to conduct sweeps for weapons caches, improvised explosive devices and house searches. They worked with various units in the province, including Navy SEAL’s and Company F, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. He cared for her, fed her and groomed her. She even slept in the cot with him, diligently watching over her master and his gear.

“Every time I hit the rack she would jump up and sleep on my feet,” Duck said. “She lived with me for seven months. This one time, I had some food sitting on my rack and I walked away to get some water. When I came back, the food was missing and she was trying to give me this innocent look like she didn’t eat it. It was pretty funny; I couldn’t stay mad at her. It was really nice having her with me. It was like having one of your best friends on deployment with you.”

Having an animal at your side constantly in a combat zone paves the way for mixed emotions as there are good and bad experiences to be had.

“It’s like having a best friend and a newborn child at the same time,” explained Duck. “They offer companionship that is irreplaceable but they also need attention and care almost constantly. I was on a patrol one time near one of the F.O.B’s outside of Fallujah checking out hot spots some choppers warned us about and we came across this irrigation ditch. It was probably two or three feet wide and had a concrete slab on top of it.  While we’re walking across this thing, she decides to jump off the slab; the problem was that I was holding her leash. So, when she jumped, I had sixty pounds of weight pulling me down and I smacked headfirst onto the concrete. I was mad at the time but its kind of funny looking back on it now. That deployment was full of situations like that.”

Their working relationship will end soon, however as Duck prepares for his upcoming end of active service date. Bancuk will likely go to a new handler because she already has established habits and she already knows what’s going on, according to Duck.

“I am not looking forward to having to leave her behind at all,” explains Duck. “I’m ready to move on with my life but I love that dog. I really wish I could adopt her and take her with me. I don’t really know how to explain it but there’s a certain bond that grows between a handler and a working dog. I’m going to miss her.”

So, as Duck moves on with his life and goes forth to do great things, Banuck will remain here, continuing to serve the Marine Corps as a faithful military working dog and a Marine’s best friend.

Vietnam Veterans ‘Feed the Dawgs’

Posted in air force teams, Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2009 by wardogmarine

by Lisa Camplin
95th Security Forces Squadron

4/22/2009 – EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  — On any normal day in Military Working Dog sections around the world the phrase “Feed the Dawgs” brings to mind the handler’s daily chores. However, on April 19 at the 95th Security Forces Squadron, Military Working Dog section here it had a completely different meaning.
Vietnam veterans ‘Feed the Dawgs’
Staff Sgt. Eric Magnuson, 95th Security Forces Squadron K-9 handler, handles Military Working Dog Nix as they display the capabilities of today’s military working dog to group of Vietnam-era dog handlers at the 95th SFS working dog area April 19. “Feed the Dawgs,” is a group of Vietnam era dog handlers who visit K-9 handlers and provide meals for the handlers and their families. (Air Force photo/Lisa Camplin)

“Feed the Dawgs is a U.S. Veterans group of Vietnam era dog handlers who travel from base-to-base to provide a meal for K-9 handlers and their families,” said Kenneth Neal, Vietnam Dog Handlers Association member.

The Veteran dog handlers brought everything from cases of steaks to bags of homemade cookies, all served with a healthy side of K-9 war stories.

“The hardest part about going to war and coming home during the Vietnam Era was that nobody said thank you,” said Jon Hemp, U.S. Air Force K-9 Veteran. “We want to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” 

Mr. Neal served two tours in Thailand during the Vietnam War with his partner Sentry Dog Rinny.

“Back then military working dogs were sentry dogs, which meant they were virtually uncontrollable. Once the dog was released there was no calling them back,” he said. “Those dogs went through weeks of aggression training after their regular canine training at Lackland AFB, Texas. Their purpose was to cause irreparable damage.”

Regardless of the extreme ingrained aggression of military working dogs back then, the bonds formed between handler and dog were just as strong as they are today.

“I loved my dog [Astor]. He weighed 85 pounds to my 165 pounds but, he took me wherever he wanted to go,” said Mr. Hemp. “K-9 was the Air Force’s night vision back then. We stood guard along the perimeter at night watching for threats.”

Sadly, Sentry Dog Astor was killed during the U.S./Libyan stand-off at Wheelus Air Base, Libya. In fact, many MWD’s failed to return home during the Vietnam War era either due to loss in combat or because they had to be left behind due to threats of foreign disease and viruses.

As quickly as the Veterans eyes saddened while they reflected on their personal stories, they brightened again upon seeing Edwards working dogs brought out for a demonstration in the training yard.

Tech. Sgt. John Ricci and Staff Sgt. Eric Magnuson, 95th SFS military working dog handlers, escorted military working dog Nix. Together, they put on an attack work and bite training demonstration to show the skills of today’s Air Force working dogs.

“In the 60’s and 70’s our bite wraps were made of used fire hoses covered with old field jackets,” Mr. Neal said, as he watched Sergeant Ricci take several aggressive bites from military working dog Nix.

Today’s bite wraps consist of layers of burlap and leather, which take most of the pressure and pain out of a bite.

After the demonstration, several of the military working dogs were brought out to capture a rare group photo of Air Force K-9 handlers past and present.

“To be lucky enough to have prior K-9 handlers take the time to recognize what we do and to share their stories is so invaluable.” expressed Master Sgt. Jon Camplin, 95th SFS Kennel master.

“Working with military working dogs isn’t an exact science because you’re dealing with a living, breathing animal that has a mind of its own,” said Sergeant Camplin. “A great K-9 handler learns everything possible from other K-9 handlers and puts all of that knowledge into their own little bag of tricks.”

“Just spending 10 minutes with any of the war veteran handlers here today is one of the most special learning experiences any of our current handlers could hope for,” said Sergeant Camplin.

By the end of the afternoon one message was clear, even decades after a military working dog handler’s career ends, he or she still has a K-9 bond with all handlers that only people like them could understand. Their patriotism and love and respect for all things K-9 stands true.

You can see this article here: K9 Vietnam Vets

K-9 wounded in action returns to retirement

Posted in Military Working Dogs with tags , , , on April 19, 2009 by wardogmarine

A Spokane police dog shot twice while on duty is back up on his paws while his replacement on the force has taken his name in his honor. KXLY4’s Erik Loney reports.