- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

VINCENNES, Ind. (AP) - Hundreds filled the stands at George E. Inman Memorial Field on Tuesday night, but football was not on the schedule.

As a part of this week’s American Police Canine Association’s National Conference, law enforcement officials from across the country and Canada displayed some of the nation’s best practices during a public canine training demonstration.

“It’s taken a ton of community support, a lot of cooperation between the sheriff’s department and the Vincennes Community School Corp. and a lot of fundraising,” Knox County K-9 supervisor Jarret Ford told the Vincennes Sun-Commercial (http://bit.ly/1mstrsY ). “People enjoy watching the dogs, seeing what they’re able to do, and they truly do seem to appreciate the training that goes into it.

“This is a way we can give them a chance to see it in action.”

Ford, who helped organize the show Tuesday, said about 70 K-9 units were in attendance and around 20 dogs participated in the demonstration.

The training called for at least four breeds of certified K-9s to complete bite training, search and seizure, and included a helicopter drop and “felony chase.”

“We asked for volunteers during each of our training sessions and dogs who excel in the different areas, and their handlers were given a chance to display their skills,” Ford said. “We have a lot of handlers here, from all over the world. It’s an incredible experience for all of us, and for the community, too.”

Amy Klein of Vincennes said the high degree of training that goes into the K-9 officers is rarely seen and their discipline leaves room for envy.

“Watching to see how obedient the dogs are, to get them excited and ready to bite, and then to call them off and watch them actually listen, that’s incredible. I wish we could do that with our dog,” she joked. “We’ve been through training courses, basic courses, and that was difficult, to imagine what these officers put in is incredible.”

Sheriff Mike Morris said exposing the community to the daily tasks of handling a K-9 unit is the reason the department sought to host the conference for a second time.

“It was an eye-opener to the citizens who have no idea what these K-9 partners do on a daily basis and that’s why we’re here,” he said. “The turnout was great, I’m really impressed, and the training exercises have been helpful for the officers and for the crowd watching. They have a little more of an understanding now.”

This is the second time officer Andy Beaver from Morgan County has come to the area to train, participating in the national conference in 2012 when the county first hosted the event.

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Information from: Vincennes Sun-Commercial, http://www.vincennes.com

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