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Local Police Department K-9 Units Train at 171st

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Shawn Monk
  • 171st Air Refueling Wing
The 171st Air Refueling Wing located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, provided a secure location for local law enforcement agencies to train their K-9 units on August 28, 2013. Beaver County, Center Township, Findlay Township, and Scott Township Police Departments attended. Staff Sgt. Brian Erickson from the 171st Air Refueling Wing Security Forces Squadron served as the liaison between the 171st and the law enforcement agencies. "Giving these departments access to the 171st allows them to have solid monthly training that is secure, which betters their dogs, which in turn helps the community that they serve," said Erickson. The K-9 units must continuously train on building, vehicle, area, and evidence searches to fulfill training requirements. Training also includes apprehension, narcotic detection, tracking scenarios, and handler protection. Having a secure, controlled location is important for efficient training and for the safety of the dogs. K-9 Officer Neil Cridge from the Findlay Township Police Department said, "the 171st opened their doors and has given us opportunities to further train our dogs. We're able to keep our dogs sharp and keep them safe and we can serve the community a lot better due to the resources we have out here."

The obedience and the level of training of the dogs is impressive. K-9 Eddy searched a mock building in seconds and found Staff Sgt. Erickson, who was playing the role of a suspect in this scenario. K-9 Eddy latched on to Erickson who was wearing a protective bite sleeve. With a powerful bite, K-9 Eddy did not release until Officer Stephenson gave the command. Officer Stephenson of Scott Township Police Department also serves as a Captain in the 171st Air Refueling Wing Security Forces Squadron.

171st Wing Commander, Colonel Ted Metzgar, observed the training and volunteered to participate by wearing a protective bite sleeve to experience the power of the K-9 first-hand.

In addition to fulfilling training requirements, this combined effort also allows the 171st and local law enforcement agencies the ability to share ideas and training techniques in order to better serve the community and the commonwealth.