K9 formation arrives in Arkansas

The City of Clarksville and the Clarksville Police Department hosted the first North American Police Work Dog Association workshop in Arkansas.

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. – More than a dozen law enforcement agencies from Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma participate in the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA) workshop held in Clarksville.

The training started on Monday October 10 and ends on Thursday October 13.

The city of Clarksville and its police department are hosting the event focused on training and certifying K9 officers and their dogs.

Bill Faus, a senior master trainer and one of the founding members of NAPWDA has over 40 years of experience as a K9 manager and trainer. He jokes that K9 officers and their dogs are closer than an officer and their wife, but understands the seriousness of the team’s special bond.

“It’s very important that you have that bond with this dog, so every time you go out and look for something, narcotics or explosives, you and your dog become a team,” Faus said. “Your dog knows how you work, you know how this dog works.”

The four-day training provides K9 teams the opportunity to train and certify. Teams will work on patrol, assault control, narcotics detection, tracking and tracking.

“Dogs, they live for this. They live to make their owners happy,” Cammack Village Police Chief Peter Powell said.

Powell and his partner, Havoc, traveled from central Arkansas to Clarksville for the workshop. Powell says events like this not only help make him a better officer in his community, but give Havoc the practice and training he needs to perform his job at the highest level.

“We certify as a team, meaning handler and dog as a team,” Powell said. “We can identify reactive dog behaviors to source odors that are narcotic odors.”

K9s are rewarded for their hard work in the field with praise, scratches, and even the occasional chew toy. The NAPWDA workshop is no different.

“It’s a game for them, they don’t see it as just a job,” Powell said. “They appreciate the opportunity to get out and work rather than if you’re on patrol and driving for six or seven hours.”

All certifications obtained are valid for one year. Many agencies present this week plan to be back next year to renew and the hope is that others will take the opportunity next year as well.

“The rumor is going to come out about what these people are missing and they’re going to say, you know, ‘we want some of that,'” Faus said. “This is going to be the start of something bigger, bigger and bigger.

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