A couple of us are at Law Dog in Las Vegas, just spent some time talking to Brett Tallakson and Owen Keefe of ALECA (Arizona Law Enforcement Canine Association) about the upcoming Desert Dog Regional Police Canine Trials 2012. in Scottsdale, AZ, April 14th and 15th (that’s a Saturday and Sunday).
Last year’s competition was observed by several thousand people and involved 82 teams (K9 and handler) competing. This year, according to Owen, they’re going to ‘keep it a little tighter’. “Eighty-two teams was a little overwhelming in the patrol category,” he said. “We can do more in the search categories with a larger number of teams, but when it comes to the patrol stuff we’d like to keep it down to around 60 or 70 teams.”
There are still a few competitor slots available; all law enforcement, military and security related K9/MWD teams are welcome to compete (and ALECA waives the entry fees for military teams). Though most of the competitors are LEOs, there are usually at least a few representatives of the MWD community, from a surprisingly wide array of agencies and bases (many halfway across the country from Arizona). In fact, one winning AF handler last year completed his events on a Saturday and left the next morning for Afghanistan.
Events at the Desert Dog Trials will include competitions in the areas of area and building searches, obstacle course negotiation, tactical in-scenario obedience, handler protection (bite work) and of course narcotics and explosives detection. There will be medical care (human and veterinarian) on-scene. Judges will evaluating and scoring obedience, ability to follow directions away from the handler, the dog’s drive and desire to work, nerves and temperament, tactics and officer safety skills. Critiques and pointers will be offered by judges and staff.
All judges are experienced handlers from a number of K9 units. This year they include handlers from Chandler (AZ) PD, AZ Dept. of Corrections, Maricopa County Sheriff, Phoenix PD, Tucson PD, Mesa PD, Pima County, US Border Patrol, etc.
For those of you interested in K9/MWD related swag, ALECA has a ton of it (proceeds used to fund the Association and the Trials). Check out those things at the ALECA Store.
You can contact Owen, the Trials Coordinator, at 602-509-2498 or AK9COP@cox.net. Alternately, contact Brett (Co-Coordinator) at 602-980-0448. Both are ALECA members and experienced “puppy pushers”. (That’s Brett, below.)