More than 40 police dogs and their handlers will hone their skills in everything from, explosives detection, narcotics detection, track and trail for search and rescue, as well as building search in Rome through Friday of this week.
The Floyd County Sheriff’s Department and Deputy Jimmy Allred are the hosts for the event.
The training event is designed to help establish standards for all police work dogs, handlers and trainers, through an accreditation program. There is no legal requirement in Georgia related to the frequency of certification of the dogs and their handlers
“It’s up to each agency,” said Officer Richard Penson of the Rome Police Department.
Penson said the city puts its two dogs, Diesel and Axel through two certification events a year. One is with the North American Police Work Dog Association, which is conducting the training this week, the other is through the United States Police Canine Association. Allred said the USPCA will conduct a training workshop in Rome next spring.
“If you have a dog that has been having problems, they work with them all week and then get them certified by the end of the week,” Allred said.
Allred and Penson said much of the training this week will take place on the old Midway Elementary School campus off the Rockmart Highway, Berry College, the old Tallatoona Community Action Agency building on Reservoir Street and an area behind the Second Avenue levee.
More than 40 teams are coming from all over the state of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. Master training officers are coming from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina and Florida. One of the county dogs, a bloodhound named Snickers, will be going through the training this week.
Both of Rome’s K-9 units are nearing retirements. Axel is expected to retire later this year while Diesel is expected to retire in 2018. The city has already acquired two new dogs and will be putting them through a 12-week boot camp soon.
One of the dogs, a German shepherd named Amats will be handled by Officer Joel Stroupe who has worked with Axel for years. Axel’s retirement will happen as soon as Amats is ready to hit the street. The other dog, a Belgian Malinois named Ash will be handled by Officer John Glover.
The Days Inn, 840 Turner McCall Boulevard is serving as the host hotel for the event.