SPARTANBURG (WSPA) – Police officer training and safety in the line of duty is always a priority.
This week, 30 K-9 teams from across the Carolinas and Georgia are making sure their animals are safe when responding to a call.
“During training, we try to make sure that everybody is mentally prepared for the worst,” says Dept. Brandon Surratt with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.
When deputies respond to a call, they never know what they’re getting into, and neither do their K-9’s.
This is why K-9 training seminars are so crucial for rookie and veteran dogs.
“Every year we try to change up locations and come up with new scenarios, things that have happened in the law enforcement world, especially the K-9 side of it,” says Sgt. Steve Henderson with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office. “Every dog out here needs to feel like they’re the biggest and the baddest police K-9 that’s ever been around.”
One of those scenarios is based off of Deputy Brandon Surratt and his former K-9 Hyco.
Deputy Surratt credits this exact training seminar for saving his life.
“If it wasn’t for the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office to put on the initial [seminar], me and Hyco would have never been able to go through that type of training to be able to prepare myself as well as Hyco in what to do when we encountered situations as we did that day,” he said.
This week is more than just safety training.
It’s about growing the bond between the handler, and their four-legged partner.
“We spend more time with them than we do with our own families,” says Deputy Surratt. “When we’re off, we’re normally out back spending time with them just doing extra training, or we’re just spending time with them at home.”
“We want them to walk away from each scenario with their chest puffed out thinking that they can take on the world,” says Sgt. Henderson.
The training continues through Friday, and the dogs will get the chance to take on narcotics identification on the last day of the seminar.