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K9 officers receive certification, emergency kits

By J.R. Tidwell / Editor

Local members of law enforcement who work with K9 companions are now a bit more prepared for the tasks they undertake thanks to a couple of recent events.

According to a post on social media by the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office, “Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office hosted the Chilton County Sheriff K9 and Clanton Police Department K9 units along with many dog teams from across the state of Alabama as they attended the Central Alabama K9 Conference and Police Dog Trials. This yearly training certifies both the dogs and their handlers in many specialties including explosives, narcotics detection, K9 first aid and tracking/apprehension.”

K9s and their handlers went through “vigorous” courses in order to get a gauge on how the pairs work together to safely complete their tasks.

“All Chilton County Sheriff’s Office and Clanton Police Department K9 units, including Chilton County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Corry McCartney with K9 Traffic (narcotics detection/tracking), Capt. Ken Harmon with Justice (explosive detection), Lt. Erick Smitherman with Scout (narcotics detection/tracking), David Clackley with Max (narcotics detection/tracking) and Detective Jason Harris with Spirit (narcotics detection) completed and passed their yearly certifications,” said the post. “The teams were proud to show off their skills in competitions in narcotics detection and tracking, with Chilton County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. McCartney and his partner Traffic winning the tracking competition.”

The Dixie Flyers flyball group, which hosts dog relays, recently put on an event at the Conference and Performing Arts Center in Clanton. During the event, Dixie Flyers member Pat Greenwald held a fundraiser in memory of her dog Meika.

“The fundraiser was a success, and $1,000 was raised to help ensure the safety of our local K9 officers,” said a post made by Clanton Police Department on social media. “Thanks to this donation, every K9 in our county now has an emergency trauma kit that may be used on the handler or K9 in the event of a serious injury or gunshot. They will also have access to two doses of Narcan, which is used to counteract the effects of accidental exposure to opioids, such as heroin or fentanyl. K9 officers are at risk of accidentally sniffing these powder substances during searches, and there have been K9 deaths caused by accidental exposure.”

According to the post, CPD and CCSO routinely use K9s and their partners to help provide security for the Dixie Flyers’ events at CPAC.

All CCSO and CPD K9 units, as well as Billy Scarbrough and K9 Shep with Thorsby Police Department, each received the emergency items.

“We appreciate the effort of Pat Greenwald and the generosity of the Dixie Flyers, having these kits with us when needed may one day save the life of our K9 partners or our own. Thanks for your support,” Clackley said.

“We are very grateful to receive such a lifesaving gift. A big thanks to Pat Greenwald and the Dixie Flyers for their generosity and efforts!” said the CCSO post.