CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - K-9 cops got to strut their stuff in front of an audience in Cape Girardeau, Missouri on Wednesday night, September 25.
Police departments throughout the Missouri brought their K-9′s to Arena Park to give the public a chance to see them in action.
Dozens of people packed into the Livestock Shelter to get a closer look including Nate Brown, his wife and four kids, who got there early and were in for a surprise.
“We did not know how it was going to start and we heard sirens off in the distance," Brown said. "They were getting closer and closer so we got to see about 30 or so different police cars roll in from all across the state.”
The statewide K-9 certification training is taking place all week.
Scott Hedger, the president of the Missouri Police Canine Association, says the exhibition gives the K-9 units a chance to show off the the same skills they’re refining.
“We have five stations set up,” Hedger said. “Vehicle narcotics, building narcotics, a building search for criminals, a tracking and area search and then aggression control and obedience. It takes numerous officers to do some of these tasks, where one dog can do it in a forth of the time."
Brown’s favorite demonstration was getting to see a canine’s speed and obedience in a mock chase scene.
“The dogs goes up there and gets him and won’t let go until the handler calls him off,” Brown said. “We have no idea what goes in how these dogs get to the point of being with their officer and the training that goes in. It was really neat to get the background of how all that works.”
The most common K-9 dog breeds are German Shepard’s, Dutch Shepard’s and the Belgium Malinois, and Hedger says their sense of smell is 50 times stronger than the average human.
“We can kind of dispel the myth that they’re all about biting people. Their nose is actually the reason we have them," Hedger said. "They find narcotics we have two or three explosive dogs this week. They find evidence, guns, things that were thrown out of a vehicle.”
A police dog’s sense can help officers save time and resources to complete a certain task, but at the end of the day they’re still man’s best friend.
“It’s the best partner you could ever have,” Hedger said. “Most of the dogs are part of the family. They spend time with the kids and the wives.”
“It’s a special bond," Brown added. "And when they retire they get the chance to even adopt them and stay with their partner.”
The K-9 training will continue through Friday this week and at that time the dogs and their handlers will be re-certified for another year.
The event was originally set to take place at the Arena Park Grandstands but was moved to the Livestock pavilion/shelter south of the Arena Building due to inclement weather.