Utilizing science and technology to improve local K-9 skills

K-9 Officers and their partners train and work hard everyday to protect us. A specialized faction of these officers are dedicated to explosive detection work, and innovative methods of training have grown exponentially over the past few years. The Regional Explosives Detection Dog Initiative (REDDI) Science and Technology Program invited the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, as well as law enforcement from all over Florida, to a training event at the Counter Terrorism Advanced Training Center in Immokalee, Florida, April 9-10.

“Participating in this REDDI event helps local detection canine teams understand the importance of having a rigorous operational testing capability and the critical need of efficient and effective maintenance training,” said Don Roberts, REDDI Science and Technology Program Manager.

(Courtesy photo/HCSO) Don Roberts, REDDI Science and Technology Program Manager with Sheriff Steve Whidden at the REDDI training event that was held at the Counter Terrorism Advanced Training Center in Immokalee, Florida, April 9-10.

During this event, it was absolutely fascinating to watch the teams work through the odor recognition trials and operational searches. The officers and their dogs were highly focused and their incredible skills were beyond impressive. The dogs were each rewarded with their favorite toy, when they signaled to their handlers that they had found the planted scents in each of the staged scenarios.

Roberts explained, “It provides the participants, through demonstration and knowledge sharing, a venue to validate what they are doing right, and identify potential focus areas to strengthen the capabilities of their teams. At the same time, by observing trends, the program will gain additional insights on how to best meet the needs of the whole of the detection canine community.”

After the real world training scenarios were completed, each officer/dog team participated in classroom instruction, where they identified common issues and addressed any individual deficiencies and how to work through them to improve the dog’s skills. The scenarios were then left in place, for officers to be able to return and work on any necessary improvements with their dogs.

Danika can be reached at dhopper@newszap.com

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