K-9 officers compete to conclude weeklong training in Henry County


HENRY COUNTY, Tenn. — Officers from across the country made their way to West Tennessee this week, on all four legs.

This is the second year Henry County has hosted the National Narcotics Detection Dog Association Training.

More than 130 K-9s and their handlers were training in narcotics, patrol, explosives and tracking.

“We go through the training, we go through scenarios, through narcotics, through vehicles, rooms, luggage, and we do a lot of distractions and stuff,” Henry County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Trainer Sgt. Ricky Wade said.

Officers from more than seven states have gone through the training.

“It’s real good training. We put our dogs through a lot of different scenarios, like we went through a dark room, masking odors where we will hide dog food, food, anything to distract the dog,” Capt. Jessie Whitstine from the Dixon, Louisiana, Correctional Institute said.

The K-9s were also competing against each other Friday to show off their skills, darting between suitcases and boxes, searching for narcotics.

More than 90 dogs are competing on this course to find two types of drugs, all in under three minutes.

“They have marijuana hid, and they have cocaine hid, various amounts,” NNDDA President Billy Jordan said. “Some could be very small, some could be very large. The handler has to go in there with his dog and he has three minutes to try and determine where the narcotics are.”

But the main focus is to come away from training better than when they came.

“The more you train, the more you know your dog. It’s a team. You work together. I know every move of my dog and true body language that he shows me,” Sgt. Wade said.

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