JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - There's something incredible about watching a police dog rush toward a suspect and grab hold, unless it's you he's sinking his teeth into.
How he sits at attention until it’s time to chase. How nothing will stop him until he has his jaws set on the suspect. How only the sound of his partner’s voice will make him let go.
“I mean people have always been intrigued by police dogs. I mean, that’s something people just love to see,” said Rankin County Investigator Chris Picou. He has been training K9s and competing in the trials for years.
Each year K9 handlers are required to certify their dogs to make sure they’re ready to work on the streets, and this year the competition is being held in Brandon. The important part of the yearly event is the United States Police Canine Association certification that they earn in the various categories in which they compete.
“They have to have that certification in order to work on the street. The main thing is to be certified so the courts know that the dog has met the standards," Picou said. "That’s the drug dogs, the bomb dogs, the patrol dogs.”
The bite work is obviously the really dangerous skill, and there are certain things the dog has to understand if he’s to be allowed to bite.
“And the bite work, the courts have said clearly you need to be able to out that dog by voice, so we have to demonstrate that. So when we send a dog after a suspect, if the suspect gives up we’ve got to call him back,” said Picou.
Dogs are the only tool a police officer has that he’s able to take back once he’s deployed it, Picou said. And Petal school district police chief Gavin Guy, who is also a judge, said in his 30 years of police work, his K9 partners have always been more than just a tool.
“Just to have him there, and you know you ride around with him and you talk to him and feed him French fries or something like that, you know just to have that bond with him,” said Guy.
While Friday’s narcotics detection certification events are closed to the public, on Saturday anyone who wants to watch the events is welcome starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Brandon High School Football Field.