K-9 teams conduct training at Westover - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

K-9 teams conduct training at Westover

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

K-9 units from all over the country are visiting western Massachusetts this week for police training.

Today, at Westover Air Reserve Base, the dogs focused their attention on explosives. 

These dogs may look cute, but they also have special skills, like sniffing out explosives, which they did Thursday at Westover.

"The dogs have to work through distraction odors to find the odor that they're trying to find," said Joe Brewer, president of the Massachusetts Police Work Dog Association.

K-9 units from as far away as Arizona and Canada are in the Pioneer Valley getting certified and trained as part of the workshop hosted by the North American Police Work Dog Association.

"It gets them exposure to these different environments and when they go out to an operation or get called out to sniff an area, it gives confidence to the handler that the dogs are able to work through distractions and know that their teams are spot on to be able to look for those explosive training aids or an explosive device," Brewer added.

Just today, 30 teams trained on a C-5 M aircraft.  The experience gave the dog and the handler a real-life simulation on what it could be like in the case of an emergency.

Kayla Apple came to the workshop with her K-9 Jack from Albany County, NY.  She told Western Mass News the explosive training at Westover is unlike anything she's experienced.

"Being able to train on an actual military base and having different personal and being able to blow up vehicles and do post-blast explosions are actually really difficult, you don't get that everywhere," Apple explained.

Other phases of training involve narcotics, cadavers, tracking, trailing, and accelerants. 

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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