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Law enforcement dogs get training in Lancaster County

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | Sep 11, 2014 4:43 AM
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Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Shiela McLean, assigned to the security department at U.S. Naval Base Guam, commands police dog, Mickey, to attack Master-at-Arms Seaman Stephon Sanders during a demonstration for students from the Harry S. Truman Head Start Center on U.S. Naval Base Guam in 2012.

(Elizabethtown) -- Barking, some biting, and lots of stern commands could be heard at a training facility in the midstate, as law enforcement dogs from all over the Northeast got put to work.

The state Department of Corrections ran the two days of training, which focused on teaching K-9's how to find drugs, cell phones, and explosives while under pressure.

About 60 K-9 teams took part at the DOC training facility in Elizabethtown, Lancaster County.

Officer Christopher Darhower of the Carlisle Police Department in Cumberland County brought along his partner Pedro.

"Coming from Slovakia and Czech area, he gets to hear that Czech command, so we just continue that. They can be trained in German if they're coming from Austria. I could train them in English if I wanted to and in fact, some of the times, I can give them commands like sit and stuff like that and they're smart enough to put two and two together."

This type of training can help prepare dogs and officers for potentially dangerous situations.

Darhower says his K-9 partner is always on the clock, and notes officers often take their dogs home every night.

"Most of the dogs all but live with the handlers, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so it's almost like another kid, but it's not a house pet. And that's the big difference. This dog doesn't go home and play with the kids and throw a tennis ball in the backyard with them. He's pretty well isolated from the family. He is a working dog," says East Pennsboro Township's K-9 officer Keith Morris.

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