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State, federal K-9 officers hone dogs’ skills in Utah

May 12, 2018

In this Wednesday, May 9, 2018, photo, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms K-9 officer Randi practices her explosive odor recognition with special agent canine handler Rennie Mora at the Unified Fire Logistics Warehouse in West Jordan, Utah. (Ashley Imlay/The Deseret News via AP)

WEST JORDAN, Utah (AP) — Law enforcement K-9 handlers from a dozen different agencies gathered in Utah recently to hone their dogs’ detection skills.

Representatives from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives visited a fire department facility in West Jordan for a three-day training and evaluation session with 21 law enforcement dogs, the Deseret News reported Wednesday.

The session involved personnel from local, state and federal agencies, including dogs from Salt Lake County’s Unified Fire Authority, Utah Transit Authority Police Department and the U.S. Air Force.

“You have to train and take that training very seriously, especially in the world we live in today. It’s a key thing to be on top of your game,” said Rennie Mora, an ATF special agent canine handler.

Mora works with a 6-year-old black lab named Randi.

“You know, I love her as a co-worker, I love her as a family member, and it’s a beautiful thing to work with a K-9,” Mora said.

The dogs practiced their detection abilities by sniffing for explosive odors in a training course. The dogs could pass a voluntary proficiency test by detecting 10 basic odors.

The training and testing allowed the agencies to “make sure they have the best working dog that they can,” said Cody Monday, a K-9 trainer course developer for the ATF.

John Gulley, an investigator with Unified Fire Authority, said the training was a guide to ensure he’s correctly training his 3-year-old lab named Harley.

Harley and Gulley have worked with the fire authority’s bomb squad to check suspicious packages and with the probation and parole department to find guns and ammunition. They also have helped maintain safety at special events like presidential campaign rallies.

“It’s the best thing in the world having a sidekick with you everywhere, who just will do anything and everything to be with you,” Gulley said.

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Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com

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