Law enforcement officials enjoy introducing their dogs to the public
They gave Oso a test, with the aroma of drugs in one bag and nothing in three other bags.
Oso found the bag with the “drugs” in it and then took a seat, waiting for his law enforcement colleague, the one with two legs, to grab the bag.
Then they tried to trick him, by hiding the bag with drugs. Oso was having none of it. He found it in no time.
A few minutes later, Apollo was sitting in his patrol vehicle, doors closed. His partner was interacting with a “suspect,” and the suspect started a fight.
With a press of a button, the door to the patrol car opened, and Apollo was on the move. He was defending his partner within a second.
Then it was Riggs’ turn to get in on the action.
This time, a suspect was running away from a two-legged officer. The four-legged officer had no problem catching up to the suspect, biting the suspect’s arm, and taking him down to the ground.
This was all part of a demonstration Monday at the Clark County Fair as K-9 units from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Vancouver Police Department showed off just a sampling of what they can do. There is another K-9 demonstration scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the fair in the area known as DogTown.
“It’s to raise awareness of what we do, and why we do it, and showcase how important the dogs are,” said Seth Brannan, who partners with Apollo for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. “The dog is a good icebreaker. It allows us to have conversations with people we’ve never known.”
The crowd at the fair had a lot of questions. For the humans, of course. The human law enforcement officials answered all of them, plus stuck around after the demonstration to allow folks to meet the dogs.
The dogs might appear to be angry when they are performing their drills against “suspects,” but they are tame and approachable as soon as the demonstration is done.
“A lot of times this is the most positive thing people see,” said Bill Pardue of Vancouver Police Department, who is partners with Oso. “Sometimes when they contact the police, it’s not a good day. This is a great day. They’re out at the fair. They see the work that we put into the dogs and how much they are actually trained. It’s really cool for people to see our relationship.
“We’re just normal people with a dog. It’s pretty cool.”
Erik Dunham and Riggs of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office stayed for a long time after the demonstration, saying hello, taking pictures, and handing out stickers.
“We want to partner with the community. We want to let them know what tools we have, what tools we have in the community to keep them safe,” Dunham said. “They pay for this public safety tool. We want to let them know that it’s being used in a responsible way.”
That is just one of the benefits of the demonstrations, Dunham said. Another bonus is community relations.
“It gives us an opportunity to interact with the public in a way we don’t often get to do. We’re usually interacting with the criminal element,” Dunham said. “One of the great things about being K-9, you get to go to schools, you get to go to the fair, you get to go to parks and interact with people who are appreciative of what you are doing.”
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