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Deputies, police officers hold K9 field trials in Pinellas County

Posted at 2:09 PM, Feb 05, 2020

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — Sheriff’s deputies and police officers from Florida, Georgia and Alabama gathered in Pinellas Park for the final day of the U.S. Police Canine Association field trials.

The K9s were judged on obedience, evidence recovery, suspect search and apprehension. Following their test, they each received a national certification.

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Each of the near five dozen K9s at the competition were patrol dogs.

“These are all dogs that are working the street... these are all dogs that are out protecting our community, staying safe,” said Deputy Tony Lorusso, with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Their handlers say these four-legged companions help solve crimes that would be near impossible without them.

“It’s a force multiplier, one dog with the smell that they have, can do the work of six or seven officers,” said Sergeant Aaron Peterman, with the Lakeland Police Department.

And unlike any person, a dog is always up to the task.

“A dog doesn’t call in sick, they don’t complain, when you’re ready to go to work they’re always right there ready to go,” said Peterman.

They’re the hardest working partner, and man’s best friend.

“I trust him out here today in competition, we had a great run, but out on the street, absolutely, I know he’s gonna be by my side the whole time,” said Lorusso.

These field trials are an annual competition to test the skills of each K9 and ensure they are improving in the areas the need to be improving in before they are deployed.