Madison K-9 units dominate awards
MADISON — Investigator Chris Picou couldn’t praise his K9 officers Splinter and Roscoe enough for their top performance during the Region 26 United States Police Canine Association Regional Trials and Certification last week.
“These dogs are pretty super,” said Picou of the Madison Police Department. “I’ve watched all the dogs progress, and I knew this would be a special group. I’m proud of not just my dogs, Splinter and Roscoe, but all the dogs involved. They far exceeded our expectations.”
Along with Picou’s K9s, the MPD’s K9 unit dominated the competition at the certification trials, which took place at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg from March 28 through April 2.
K9s from MPD, the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, and the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department all took part as well.
The trials consisted of over 34 teams. The K9s and handlers participated in categories such as narcotics detection, explosive detection, obedience, agility, evidence search, suspect search, and criminal apprehension.
Picou joined the MPD about a year ago and is also a supervisor for the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department.
His K9s, Splinter (11 years old and a drug dog) and Roscoe (7 years old and patrol bomb dog), were both imported from Europe and happened to have the same father, also named Roscoe.
Picou, Roscoe, and Splinter took home several first-place wins, including Narcotics Vehicle Search, Team Narcotics, Overall Narcotics, Evidence Search, Criminal Apprehension, Team Patrol, and Overall Patrol.
“Every year as K9 officers, we need to be certified, and we go through the United States K9 Association in Abbeville, Louisiana to do that,” Picou said. “I’ve been going through this yearly for quite some time. It involves getting up early and working with the dogs, and all that training paid off.”
Chief of Police Gene Waldrop said he is very proud of all the officers involved and their dedication to their furry friends.
“These are some dedicated officers,” Waldrop said. “These guys are continuously working with the dogs, and the dogs live with them and are like family members. They put a lot of time and dedication into being the best they can be with the K9s, and they put a lot of effort into this recertification.”
Investigator Lee Sanders has been with the MPD for three years and got his K9 Ira in August 2020 from the United States K9 Association.
Ira, a dual-purpose K9 that specializes in narcotics detection and tracking scents, won several first and second place awards during the certification. These awards included the “Top Dog” award (combined score from the Patrol and Narcotics trials), first place in Suspect Search and Team Patrol, second place in Narcotics Vehicle Search, Narcotics Room Search, Team Narcotics, and Overall Narcotics, and third place in Overall Patrol.
“It was a lot of hard work and dedication over the past couple of months getting ready for the trials, but it paid off for me and the Rankin County groups,” Sanders said. “We have the luxury to be surrounded by expert dog handlers and had the help of Steve Henderson as well.”
Sanders said the best part of the experience was the reward of seeing his hard working pay off.
“Only having Ira for a year and a half and still being able to do what we did is very rewarding,” Sanders said.
Other officers who took home awards with their K9s include Investigator Ricky Cross and his K9 Ersa with the Top Rookie Dog Patrol award, first place in Team Patrol, and third place in suspect search, and Investigator Karlin Givens and his K9 Dalton with the Top Rookie Dog Narcotics award, and first place in Team Narcotics.
MPD thanked Steve Henderson from Checkmate K9 for his expertise and guidance in preparing the handlers for the regional trials, Roger Abshire and USK9 Unlimited for importing and training K9s, Chris Haley and the Madison County Sports Zone for allowing the use of their facility, and Sheriff Bryan Bailey and the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department for allowing the use of their facilities in preparations for the trials.