Police Canines From Around State Visit Payson Next Week

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Next week, the residents of Payson will be able to watch police canines in action.

For 14 years, police dog handlers and trainers from all over the U.S. and Canada have come to Payson for the annual K-9 officer survival seminar. But for the first time in all those years, the seminar will open its doors to the public for a demonstration of police dog abilities.

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A police canine can track suspects, detect the presence of illegal drugs, find evidence, locate people who are lost as well as provide protection for police officers.

The demonstration, titled "Dog'ed Daze of Summer," will take place Tuesday at the Payson Event Center.

The Payson Police Department has one canine at its disposal.

On Monday and Tuesday of next week, the police canines will be getting certified and on Wednesday and Thursday there will be simulated, multiple-suspect apprehensions by the dogs and handlers.

Payson Police Department Sgt. Rod Mamero said police dogs are becoming more and more valuable all the time.

A police canine can track suspects, detect the presence of illegal drugs, find evidence, locate people who are lost as well as provide protection for police officers, he said. The PPD started this event 14 years ago when agencies across the state wanted some additional training.

Five hundred dog teams have come to Payson over the years.

Mamero said the public knows police departments use canines, but most are unaware of what the dogs are capable of doing.

On Tuesday the public will be able to view the police canines in action in staged real-life scenarios.

Mamero's canine retired eight to nine years ago. Most police dogs, he said, work with one handler in an attempt to develop more of a bond between the officer and animal.

The current police canine, Kodiak, is a dual-purpose dog that works in narcotic prevention and patrol work. Mamero said Kodiak will be at next week's training with members of the special-detection unit.

The Arizona Law Enforcement Canine Association will take donations at the event to help sponsor the annual training. The event that is open to the public runs 90 minutes from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

-- To reach Michael Maresh call 474-5251 ext. 112 or e-mail mmaresh@payson.com.

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