WALHALLA — The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office was among law enforcement agencies from at least three states that participated in K-9 training and certification in Oconee County recently.
Besides the Sheriff’s Office, other law enforcement agencies that participated were the Seneca Police Department, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, the Travelers Rest Police Department, the Duncan Police Department, the Greenville Police Department, the Surfside Beach Police Department, and the Anderson City Police Department.
From North Carolina, the Concord Police Department participated and the University of Florida Police Department also participated.
The training and certification process involved not only the detection of narcotics but explosives as well. The training took place at four different locations in and around Seneca, including Gignillet Field, the former J.N. Kellett Elementary School, The Shoppes at Park Place North, and Moutainview Center.
The K-9 seminar and work shop is usually done once a year, said Sgt. Tommy Crompton of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. Law enforcement agencies throughout the east are invited and the seminar is used in part to improve the K-9’s capabilities, as well as that of their handlers.
“At the end of the week, per state law, every dog that is involved in apprehension work has to be certified,” according to Crompton. “On top of that, we get certified on different types of narcotics and different types of explosives.”
The American Police Canine Association, which is based in Indiana, provides the certification, guidelines, and support for the handlers and their K-9’s. K-9’s are used for multiple purposes by law enforcement agencies and the services they provide are priceless to officers, according to Crompton.
“A K-9 on the street can help track a lost person, a lost hiker, and if it is a narcotics detection dog, it can be used for the detection of any kind of illegal substance that individuals can transport from one location to another,” Crompton said. “Also, with apprehension the dogs are trained to apprehend someone and they are trained to hold them, not maul them, so the officer can get control of that individual and take him into custody. In regards to explosives, the K-9 can search an area quicker than individuals.”
The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office currently has six K-9s.