Forty police dogs from across the country are in Cookeville this week as part of a K9 workshop.
The North American Police Work Dog Association Workshop provides training the dogs need to get their annual K9 certification. The dogs are being certified in explosives, narcotics, patrol, therapy, and search and rescue.
“It’s been a great turn out and a great event,” Leonard said. “And I would encourage the public if you see a patrol car or K9 vehicle from an outside agency, give them a wave, thumbs up, welcome to the community because Cookeville is a great place to live and work.”
Master trainers are certified in training dogs to work alongside police officers. Leonard said Cookeville Major James Harris is a master trainer and is being assisted by several other trainers across the country to run the workshop.
“Well obviously, it’s great for the community any time we have visitors in Cookeville,” Leonard said. “They are here to spend money and enjoy the beauty of Cookeville.”
The Putnam County School System allowed the training of the K9s to take place at Avery Trace Middle School and some areas near the High School. Leonard said credit goes to Harris who facilitated Cookeville hosting the workshop for the second time.
“Any time that you get a bunch of dogs together, you know obviously there’s the idea of having all these dogs in the same room, can be difficult,” Leonard said. “So these master trainers are really working individually with these dogs to get them through all their certification.”
The North American Police Work Dog Association holds this nation-wide workshop every year. The organization is made up of K9 officers who assist in training dogs to get them certified, problem solving, offering new techniques in K9 use, and teaching the laws that govern K9 use.
Agencies from North Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut, Maryland, West Virginia, Illinois and Florida are attending the workshop which ends Friday.