(Courtesy of Wyoming Highway Patrol)

The Wyoming Highway Patrol K-9 program recently participated in National Police Canine Association, also known as NPCA, training and certification in Jackson, Wyoming. The training took place May 9th through May 12th. The WHP K-9 program consists of 10 narcotics K- 9 handlers and two explosives K-9 handlers.

The training included real life scenarios such as mock traffic stops with vehicles containing narcotics as well as mock encounters that had no contraband present. These mock scenarios also took place in several businesses in the Jackson area who opened up their facilities for the training. The cooperation with the businesses also provided an excellent opportunity for the community to see how the WHP K-9 handlers and their partners perform while being able to interact with our Troopers to ask questions about our agency.

Also during the training, officials with the NPCA set up certifications in order to test both the K-9 and the handler. These events work to ensure the reliability of the K-9 team with the K-9 demonstrating the ability to recognize particular odors and the handler’s ability to manage search areas within a specific amount of time. The handler must direct the K-9 and have the ability to read their behavior determining when they alert to the odor of narcotics or explosives. These timed events cover a variety of scenarios including area, room, vehicle and parcel searches. The handlers also received training on K-9 care and K-9 first aid.

The WHP K-9 program looks forward to this training and certification every year. It gives them a chance to work together and test each team’s ability while looking for new and innovative ways to improve their performance. It also provides the handlers the ability to network and share ideas with other handlers throughout the Rocky Mountain region.