Seminars | Location Best
- handling, problem solving, techniques - Location: NC
Sheriff's office hosts weeklong K-9 seminar By Melanie Davis
More than a dozen law enforcement agencies were in Boone this week for a K-9 and handler seminar. Watauga County Sheriff's Office hosted the event, attended by 35 K-9 teams. The handlers and dogs went through training and critique sessions in the many areas where dogs are used by police. Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute funded the event through its continuing education programs for police, fire and rescue.
Marco Van Hoof, owner of DACH Police Dogs and Services in Holland, was present with his employee Koen Lubbers to lead the seminar. The DACH company is a leader in the breeding, training and exporting of police and military dogs from Europe. Canines from the company can be found all over the world and locally.
Both Bocca and Rex of the Watauga County Sheriff's Office are DACH dogs. Mike Baker of Triangle K-9 in Durham was also present at the seminar. Triangle K-9 is a brokering service for law enforcement to purchase dogs for police use, as well as a training center.
Baker is also a sargeant with the Durham Police Department and oversees its K-9 units.
The seminar offered group training sessions in building searches, narcotics,
scent identification and tracking. The seminar also gave officers the
opportunity to learn different training techniques to employ during the
25 to 30 hours per month each officer devotes to working on an individual
level with his or her own dog.
Van Hoof worked one-on-one with each K-9 and handler team to identify and offer advice on issues specific to the pair.
“It is important to oversee the dogs and offer support, expertise and experience,” Van Hoof said.
Participants of the seminar were across the state of North Carolina,
as well as from departments from Tennessee and Florida. “This is also
about networking and sharing experiences with other departments,” said
deputy Wes Hawkins of the Watauga County Sheriff's Office and handler
of the K-9 Cheska.
The training exercises were held in various locations throughout Boone. The real estate firm of Weber, Hodges and Godwin offered the use of the vacant commercial building on Shadowline Drive. The old CCC&TI campus buildings on the N.C. 105 Bypass and county property near the landfill were sites for the various training scenarios.
“We are happy to host this seminar and hope to make it annual event here in Boone,” Lt. Tim Wilson said. The Watauga County Sheriff's Office has four K-9 officers. Wilson handles Bocca and Bang, the bomb dog. Deputy Chris Greene handles Rex, and Hawkins handles Cheska. Wilson said over the last three years the dogs have seized an estimated $500,000 in narcotics and narcotics trafficking-related funds, as well as assisting in the tracking of several people suspected of crimes in Watauga County.