2011 CONNECTICUT POLICE K9 OLYMPICS~July 23
The competitors came from K-9 units with the Department of Correction (DOC) and state and local police across the state for the chance to be named top dog in the obstacle course, firing range and box search competitions.
“We try to make it everything that they encounter throughout their day-to-day duties,” Lt. Greg Chandler of the DOC K-9 Unit said, adding, “but we throw a bit of fun into it for everybody to have a good time. That’s why they go through the wet pit first, so they have to come out and do everything soaking wet.”
The dogs and their handlers started out wet and dirty with the obstacle course’s watery pit before moving on to a tactical section that required officer to move from one section to the next while his or her dog remains behind until called. The team then moved on to several more obstacles to test the dog’s training and agility before testing the canine’s obedience with a series of vocal and hand commands.
Each team had its own toughest section.
“For me it’s the tactical. When you first come out of the water the dog’s all amped up,” DOC Officer Josh Trifone said of his run through the course with his German Shepherd, Apollo.
The dogs searching skills were put to the test in a search of six closed boxes, one of which held a decoy that the dogs are supposed to sniff out.
The dogs were certainly not the only ones put to the test, as the officer-dog team also completed a tactical range course set up in one of depot campus’s buildings, firing simulation rounds similar to paintballs at several targets as they moved through the range in the building.
“It’s important to know what our officers do,” Kathleen Dyer, of Coventry, said, who has been to the event twice before and brought her granddaughter, Riley, out for her first time this year.
“Everything we do here is to raise money for charity,” Chandler said.
All of the money collected via the sponsorships, competitor entry fees and T-shirt and food sales go to the Shriners Burn Center, the Hometown Foundation, Special Olympics and CT CHIP (Connecticut Child Identification Program), according to Chandler.
CT CHIP was also on hand for parents to get their children registered in the recovery and identification program, which records children’s fingerprints and toothprints, as well as a cheek swab for DNA and a brief recording of the child to ascertain their appearance, speech and mannerisms.