ALPENA, Mich. — You may have noticed a few extra police vehicles driving around Alpena the past few days. That’s because the National Association of Professional Canine Handlers is currently training over 300 canines and their handlers at the Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena.
President of the NAPCH, Terry Foley, helps prepare this event every year. “We have tracking, building searches, aggression control,” he said. “We have police chases, narcotics detection, explosives detection, and anything that the officers will be utilizing the dog for on the road.”
Col. John Miner, installation commander of the CRTC, says he looks forward to these exercises each year. “We do some pretty exciting stuff here at the training center,” he said. “This is probably one of the most interesting and probably one of the biggest highlights we have every year.”
A total of 60 trainers are available to help train both the dogs and the officers handling them. Officer Greg Roberts, with the Wayne State University Police Department, says this is his third year at the training center and his second year working with two dogs. “You get the best of both worlds. Narcotics detection as well as explosives detection, so it’s going extremely well, actually, for as young as they are and as new of a handler as I am really,” he said.
Besides training for what police encounter on the street, these teams are also developing extremely strong bonds with each other. “With the second dog being that I was able to keep him from six months old and raise him from a puppy,” said Roberts. “I really see that relationship and that bond really grew throughout the time that I’ve had him. So for him to go to another handler I think would be a struggle for him.”
This year’s training started on September 29 and will continue until October 3.