Drug dogs from 27 states train in Henry County
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PARIS, Tenn. — From Texas to New York and 25 states in between, hundreds of drug dogs are sharpening their skills in Henry County this week. The Henry County Sheriff’s Office has been planning this National Narcotic Detector Dog Training for the past year. “It’s a team effort between the handler and the K-9, and K-9s actually become a member of their family,” Henry County Sheriff Monte Belew said. “It’s as we say, law enforcement is not what you do but who you are.” Belew said this training is special because the canines play a key role at most departments. “We couldn’t do it without our K-9s,” Belew said. “They’re absolutely a critical part of the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, and that’s why we believe in the training. The more you train the better you get.” He said from traffic stops to scratch boxes, the teams get to train on dozens of exercises. “The handlers and the teams go in and do everything from distractions to high hides to low hides, to dark rooms where you can actually work on your dog where the handler is better able to read their dog and know when they’re in the odor of some type of drug,” he said. Attendees said it’s also an opportunity to network and learn from other departments. “This socializes the dog — all these people, all these vehicles, noises, everything — it’s just cream to these dogs,” Ronnie LaGrone from Carthage, Texas, said. “It makes them even better.” LaGrone is one of the competition judges and said the important thing to take away from the training is teamwork. Sheriff Belew said Friday from 7:30 to noon there will be a drug dog competition open to the public at the Don Ridgeway Center at Paris Landing State Park.