JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. –
Law enforcement working dogs and their handlers demonstrated their skills to fight for first place during the “Capitol K-9 Trials” competition May 20.
“We actually started this about three months ago. It’s been a lot of preparation, myself and Staff Sgt. Boozel have been responsible for coordinating most of this,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tristen Hampton, 316th Security Forces Support Squadron military working dog handler. “We worked hard to get all these agencies out here. It’s so amazing to have this many people out here for this event. It warms our heart.”
The teams competed by completing activities such as detecting simulated explosive ordnance, narcotics disposal, and obedience and patrol demonstrations. The competition determined the top-performing working dog team among Prince George County Law Enforcement, the Hyattsville City Police Department and Air Force K-9 handlers.
“I traveled here from Grand Forks North Dakota, the flight was rough but I’m excited to be here,” said Kaitlyn Thompson, 319th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler. “Fortunately, we didn’t have to do too much additional training. Training a dog to pursue a target without biting or taking down their target is a big hurdle that many dogs and trainers must overcome and one we’re continuing to work on.”
The judges included officials from both military and local law enforcement who evaluated and ranked each K-9 and handler based on their abilities. Contestants were also judged on factors such as control, composure, command voice and presence.
The event hosted organizations such as Military Working Dog Team Support Association, which is responsible for adopting retired military working dogs and providing them with a “forever home” if the dog has difficulties re-adjusting to civilian life.
In addition to MWDTSA, the “Feed the Dawgs” project, provided food and refreshments for the K-9s and handlers present at the event. Revenue generated from the event will be used for military working dog care packages and goodie bags for deployed Defenders. It will also be used to assist veterans suffering from PTSD who may need a service dog to help manage their trauma.
The Capitol K-9 Trials concluded the Joint Base Andrews 2023 Police Week.