Lowndes County hosts National Police K-9 trials

Over 100 officers and their canines met at Lowndes High Martin Stadium.
Over 100 officers and their canines met at Lowndes High Martin Stadium.(Source: WALB)
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 7:29 PM EDT
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LOWNDES COUNTY, Ga. (WCTV) - In one of the final days of the United States Police Canine Association National trails, spectators got to watch more than 100 handlers and their K-9s perform a series of skills.

The trials draw in qualified law enforcement K-9 units from all over the country to compete in several skills tests, including agility, obedience and detection. This year, and for the first time both national trial competitions were held in Valdosta.

“This is the longest tenured one, the United States Police Canine Association and in order to even get to this point, you have to have regionally certified also which we did a few months ago in Florida,” said Lt. Herb Bennett with the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.

Lt. Bennett volunteered to host the trials in Lowndes County after he says no one wanted to because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

All week, handlers and their K-9s demonstrated their skills to be ranked as the best of the best.

Officials said like most jobs there’s a standard that must be met in law enforcement and this certification shows that the participants are above average when it comes to their skill level in their state and across the country.

Skylar Meeler with the Valdosta tourism authority said while the trials show the hard work LCSO puts into its training, the event has also benefited the community largely when it comes to economics.

“When events like this come to Valdosta, it brings revenue to the city for our businesses and our restaurants and all of that stuff in the city. It also lets people return later to say, you know this is a great place we need to come back we need to visit again, so it’s really beneficial to the community,” said Meeler.

Around 400 hotel rooms were booked for the trials, and Meeler said she hopes events like this will draw even more opportunities to the city.

The trials officially end on Friday with a banquet and award ceremony.