Two Sullivan county K9 teams recently won first-place awards at the U.S. Police Canine Association Region 8 field trials.
Two Sullivan County K9 police officers and their furry partners brought home two first-place awards from a recent field trial, a feat never before accomplished in the history of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office.
The U.S. Police Canine Association Region 8 Field Trials is part of a certification test that is conducted twice a year.
Officer Matthew Cole and his partner Diablo took home the Top Dog award in the patrol dog certification trials. The team scored 682 out of a possible 700. The test is made up of several parts.
“Each event that you do, your dog is graded on how he performs at the exercises,” Cole said. “Do you have control over your dog? Is his finish good? Is he enthused on doing the job or the task that he’s sent to do and if he is obedient to you?”
Cole and Diablo have been together for two years. Cole is Diablo’s original handler as they both went through K9 training together.
Officer Melissa Marlowe and her partner Misha took home the Top Dog award in the detector certification trials. The team scored a 198 out of 200 during the test. The test involved Misha picking out explosive material from different locations. Misha successfully located each of the items.
“The explosive detection dogs go through a little different (trial) than the narcotics dogs do,” Marlowe said. “The explosive detection dogs have to go through a test where they have to find six explosives in a set of cans, there’s like 18 cans I think. ...Once we do that, we go through a set of luggage we have to search and then we go through the room searches and the car searches.”
The average score from each trial is added up to get the final score.
Marlowe and Misha have been together for five years. Marlowe has been a police officer for 13 years and a K9 handler for 11.
This is the second time Marlowe has brought home the Top Dog award.
A potential K9 dog has to go through a 14 week training program to become a K9 officer. The dogs are then paired with handlers. Once paired, the two partners are together all the time.
It creates a deep bond.
“They live with us, they stay at our home with us, they stay in the car with us,” Marlowe said. “They’re with us 24-7, so they’re almost like a family member. You create a real bond there. Of course, they’re patrol dogs also, so we count on them to be our protection.”