A Day for the Dogs

Duluth Police Department K-9 officers conduct training with their dogs at the Air National Guard Base in Duluth, Minn., May 11, 2009.  The 148th Fighter Wing Security Forces has opened their doors to welcome the four-legged guests to the base strengthening the effort of joint training in the community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brett Ewald)

Duluth Police Department K-9 officers conduct training with their dogs at the Air National Guard Base in Duluth, Minn., May 11, 2009. The 148th Fighter Wing Security Forces has opened their doors to welcome the four-legged guests to the base strengthening the effort of joint training in the community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brett Ewald)

Duluth Police Department K-9 officers conduct training with their dogs at the Air National Guard Base in Duluth, Minn., May 11, 2009.  The 148th Fighter Wing Security Forces has opened their doors to welcome the four-legged guests to the base strengthening the effort of joint training in the community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brett Ewald)

Duluth Police Department K-9 officers conduct training with their dogs at the Air National Guard Base in Duluth, Minn., May 11, 2009. The 148th Fighter Wing Security Forces has opened their doors to welcome the four-legged guests to the base strengthening the effort of joint training in the community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brett Ewald)

Duluth Police Department K-9 officers conduct training with their dogs at the Air National Guard Base in Duluth, Minn., May 12, 2009.  The 148th Fighter Wing Security Forces has opened their doors to welcome the four-legged guests to the base strengthening the effort of joint training in the community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brett Ewald)

Duluth Police Department K-9 officers conduct training with their dogs at the Air National Guard Base in Duluth, Minn., May 12, 2009. The 148th Fighter Wing Security Forces has opened their doors to welcome the four-legged guests to the base strengthening the effort of joint training in the community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brett Ewald)

Duluth Police Department K-9 officers conduct training with their dogs at the Air National Guard Base in Duluth, Minn., May 12, 2009.  The 148th Fighter Wing Security Forces has opened their doors to welcome the four-legged guests to the base strengthening the effort of joint training in the community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brett Ewald)

Duluth Police Department K-9 officers conduct training with their dogs at the Air National Guard Base in Duluth, Minn., May 12, 2009. The 148th Fighter Wing Security Forces has opened their doors to welcome the four-legged guests to the base strengthening the effort of joint training in the community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brett Ewald)

DULUTH, Minn. -- The 148th Fighter Wing Security Forces has opened their doors to welcome four-legged guests to the Air National Guard base in Duluth, Minn. K-9 units from the Superior, Wis. and Duluth, Minn. police departments will use the base softball field to conduct K-9 recertification training over the next two months (May to June).

K-9 recertification training consists of five phases; suspect searches, article/evidence searches, agility training, suspect apprehension and obedience training. All five phases are important, but added weight is given to the suspect apprehension and obedience phases. "You must be in control of your dog at all times; that is a vital part of testing," said Brad Wick. Officer Wick is a veteran dog handler and trainer with over 16 years of experience with the Duluth Police Department. Both the dog and the officer are graded in the certification process by a third party and must be certified to perform their duties.

This year's certification testing will take place in Ramsey County, Minn. The four K-9 units from Duluth, and the one unit from Superior, will continue training at the 148th until the June testing period.

Tech. Sgt. Stephen Tuohy, 148th Security Forces explains, "We have entered into a new phase of community support for Joint Training. The training the K9s will be doing is critical for their annual certifications. Without this, they would not be able to use their dogs in the line of duty."