CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Charleston police K9 officer and his partner are being recognized for their work.

Cpl. Tony Gaylor and his partner Berkley received the West Virginia Police Canine Association’s 2017 Team of the Year Award.

The duo was honored during a ceremony in Nicholas County on April 13.

The award recognizes a K9 team that has performed above and beyond expectations. County and municipal K9 teams, including bloodhounds and patrol dogs, from across West Virginia participate in the event.

Berkley is a six year old female Dutch shepherd. Gaylor has worked with the dog for five years.

“I think what makes a good team is a good relationship with a dog, knowing how to read your dog and what your dog is trying to tell you because you have to work together for a while so the dog understands the handler and what the dog is trying to tell you,” Gaylor said.

Gaylor and the K9 have tracked down multiple suspects in their time working together. Berkley is a multi-purpose dog which means she sniffs for drugs, tracks suspects and does patrol work. The dog does not sniff for bombs.

Having a K9 with him is beneficial, Gaylor said.

“There’s been several times where we’ve actually apprehended more than one suspect at a time. That’s something that, without multiple officers, it’s really hard to do,” he said.

The Charleston Police Department K9 teams often conduct demonstrations for schools and other groups.

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