KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. — K-9 units from around the state will be running all over Kanawha County through Friday.
The annual West Virginia Police K-9 Association conference got underway Monday morning at Camp Virgil Tate in the Northern Kanawha County for certification and training for the dogs.
94 teams total will be trained as patrol and explosive dogs will be doing most work at the camp, while bloodhounds will be running trails throughout the county and training as trail dogs.
Sgt. Paxton Lively with the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office has had a dog for 13 years and said they are a lot of help to the officers.
“You have a dog available all the time to search cars during traffic stops,” he said. “Somebody gets into a pursuit and they bail out or crash and flee on foot. Instead of the police officer chasing them into the woods and putting themselves into danger, they wait on the dog to get there and let them find them.”
Lively said the patrol dogs will train in bite work and obedience while doing narcotics certification, both inside and outside of vehicles. The explosive dogs will do the same training as patrol dogs but look for explosives.
The bloodhounds will be running 24-hour old trails in the county, both a city setting and in the wilderness. John Bird, Special Operation with the Division of Forestry, is helping with the trail training and said the trails are a minimum of one hour long. The dogs will earn two different certifications on the trails, one city, and one wilderness.
More than a dozen bloodhounds set out for training Monday morning and Bird said the help they receive from them is unmeasurable.
“You have the K-9s to do their job whether it is tracking, trailing, apprehension, whatever their creed is they do that, but also it is a deterrent,” Bird said.
“To have those K-9s as a deterrent is key. If everybody knows they are out there, it will deter crime as well.”
Lively said his sheriff’s office has nine dogs, including five patrols, two explosives, and two bloodhounds. He added Kanawha County has two dogs on every shift.
“We use them on a daily basis,” Lively said. “We do a lot of tracking for people that are fleeing and pursuits, suspects that flee from houses and burglary suspects.
“Road patrol becomes dependent on them. They use them daily on things they can’t do themselves.”
Certification on K-9s can be done throughout the year but Lively said most sign up for this conference.
The conference ends Thursday evening with a banquet where dogs will officially be certified for work. To learn more visit, the association’s website.