No. 1 K-9s: RCC excels at drug dog event

Published 5:42 am Saturday, May 13, 2017

Rayburn Correctional Center’s K-9 Unit recently attended the 2017 National Narcotic Detector Dog Association (NNDDA) Nationals Conference and Competition, at the Paris Landing State Park in Buchanan, Tennessee. Lt. Cody Williams, with his Belgian Malinois named “Max,” and Capt. Richard Forbes, with his Belgian Malinois named “Fanny,” participated in the event which started on Monday, May 1.

Throughout the week, training was conducted at two separate areas and included topics such as “search warrants.” Training exercises were conducted in various environments and conditions. The teams were required to conduct high and low search patterns of various items including luggage and vehicles. They were subjected to conditions such as dark rooms and distractions from odors such as food, chemicals, and other dogs. The narcotics detection dogs were put to the test to find marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, ecstasy, Xanax, and several other narcotics. The dogs were also “proofed” on large quantities of money which was hidden in the search areas.

The Narcotics Dog Competition was held on the last day of the event in an open search area about the size of a gym. This search area was set up with obstacles that included vehicles, ATVs, desks, filing cabinets, computers, luggage, etc. A total of five marijuana hides and five cocaine hides were placed inside of obstacles throughout the search area. Each team had a total of three minutes to find as many narcotics as possible. Each positive marijuana alert that the handler called was worth 50 points. Each positive cocaine alert the handler called was worth 100 points. If the handler called an alert on an object that did not contain a narcotic, that team would be penalized 500 points. A total of 97 narcotics detection dogs and handlers entered the competition. These officers and K9s were from law enforcement agencies from throughout the nation.

At the conclusion of the event, Williams and “Max” placed first overall in the event with the highest points. Williams and “Max” also received awards for Top Rookie Dog and handler; the “Bark, Bandit, Trooper” award which is for the dog over 6 years old with the most points; and the “Mike Brown” award for the Belgian Malinois with the most points. Forbes and “Fanny” placed eighth place overall in the event. The officers and their K-9 companions also received the Top Team award for having the highest total score in the event as a team.

Warden Robert Tanner expressed his pride in both officers.

“These officers and their dogs work many long hours, training to be the best, in addition to performing their regular duties at the facility,” Tanner said. “They provide a valuable service to our facility and the local communities. I am very proud of them and their accomplishments.”