JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
To honor law enforcement members during National Police Week, the 11th Security Support Squadron here hosted a K-9 competition May 14-15.
President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation in 1962 designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the week in which that date falls as "Police Week."
The aim of National Police Week is to pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty and to give appreciation for all those who currently serve on the front lines of the battle against crime.
The contest featured both military and civilian police K-9 handlers from throughout the National Capital Region, including personnel from JBA, Marine Corps Base Quantico, the Defense Intelligence Agency, Hyattsville Police Department and Prince George’s County Police Department.
“The competition is a way for all of us to honor those who served before us and also showcase our capabilities as defenders,” said Staff Sgt. Tyler Hendrix, 11th SSPTS military working dog handler and event organizer.
Each day of competition featured a variety of different events, including a patrol scenario, “hardest hitting” dog competition, a dog race and a tactical obedience course run. During the obedience course run, handlers were tasked with overcoming numerous obstacles as quickly as possible all while maintaining complete control over their K-9 partners.
“The tactical obedience part of the competition was the toughest portion for me,” said Cpl. Raymond Cleveland, Security Battalion, Marine Corps Base Quantico MWD trainer. “As my dog and I are a new team, we haven’t had a chance to practice tactical obedience all that much. It was good to see other dog teams and learn how they do certain things. It gave me something I can take back with me, train with, and do even better next year.”
After the competition concluded, event competitors and organizers gathered for an award ceremony and barbecue. There, they had the opportunity to interact and share their unique experiences.
“We as military [members] do receive recognition for the sacrifice we make in regards to our deployment and the time we spend away from family, but the same thing goes for our civilian counterparts,” said Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Andrew Kowtko, Security Battalion, Marine Corps Base Quantico kennel master. “We might work for different organizations, but we all have the same mission of keeping our community safe. Coming together during events like this helps remind me of that.”