K9 handlers from across Mississippi attend Law Dog Seminar

Tupelo Police Department hosts the three day seminar for the second year in a row

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – Whether they’re helping track fugitives, finding a missing person, or searching for narcotics or weapons, Police K9s are a vital part of law enforcement and training is intense and continuous.

K9 teams spent part of this week in Tupelo as part of the “Law Dog Seminar”.

For three days, K9 handlers and their partners have been put to the test.

For the second year in a row, the Tupelo Police Department is hosting the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer’s Association, Law Dog K9 seminar.

“We have seven training venues set up, to prepare K9 officers for anything they may see in real-life deployments, from building searches, tracking, narcotics, explosive detection, also have things with dogs being distracted, and conducted two certifications, detection and patrol certification,” said TPD K9 Unit Director Cpl. Dustin Tutor.

Some of the officers are wrapping up basic K9 handler school, while others are veteran handlers. There are 30 dog teams from across the state, going through the training. Buildings at the ICC Tupelo campus, vacant due to spring break, provide spaces for real-world scenarios.

“We are always looking to improve, each year we change things up, so we hope, as things change in society and law enforcement, we are trying to mold and improve and we hope a team will take away at least one thing to take back to their departments and improve their training,” Tutor said.

K9 officers form close bonds with their partners, taking them into their homes when they aren’t on duty. That tight-knit relationship means the dog is part of a handler’s family. The constant training also helps keep communities safer.

“I graduated from basic Law Dog class last year and in the first month, K9 Zabe was able to locate a murder weapon in an area search, and he’s been really helpful locating narcotics, and seizures in Hernando,” said K9 Officer Alexander Moore, with Hernando PD.

“This conference was pretty challenging, all instructors here were knowledgeable and super nice, taking all of the knowledge they’ve given me, back to the streets, keeping her safe, me safe, other officers safe,” said K9 Officer Kaitlynn Studebaker, with Senatobia PD.

Whether they’re longtime K9 handlers or brand new, the Law Dog seminar is a valuable tool providing realistic training to make better officers.

The seminar wrapped up with an awards lunch. Here are the results:

Top Dog Award-  Ben Uhiren K9 Conan TPD

Hard dog Fast Dog
1st place BJ Gladney K9 Gunner Okolona Pd

2nd place- Dwight Mcmillen K9 Buddy Choctaw Tribal Police

3rd place – Ben Uhiren K9 Conan TPD

4th place – Mario Presley K9 Lambo. Panola S.O

Handler Challenge
1st Place – Ben Uhiren K9 Conan TPD

2nd Place – Jason Moore K9 Denzel Prentiss S.O.

3rd Place – Daniel Mathias K9 Smokey Senatobia Pd

4th place – Katie studebaker K9 Cola Senatobia Pd

Detection Scramble
1st place Parker Madeen K9 Kojack Starkville Pd

2nd place – Bj Gladney K9 Gunner Okolona Pd

3rd place – Kenneth Howell K9 Elko Oxford PD

4th place – Ben Uhiren K9 Conan TPD

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