The Manassas airport came in to save the day, and provide space for law enforcement K9 handlers to train their dogs.
More from a City of Manassas release:
When a group of K9 handlers lost their training space, the Manassas Regional Airport and Dulles Aviation saved the day. On Monday, Nov. 2, Sgt. Ari Elkin from the Montgomery County Police Department reached out to Juan Rivera, Manassas Regional Airport Director, to investigate possible sites for their three-week long detection course beginning the next day.
The course trains law enforcement K9 handlers on how to train other handlers and K9s in their respective agencies. Agencies from all over Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. are participating. Funding for the three-week course was acquired from a grant through the Council of Governments and has been planned for more than a year. A day before the event, their pre-arranged location fell through and there was no money available for space rental.
Juan Rivera had several ideas for the group and introduced Ari Elkin to Joe Gardner, President of Dulles Aviation. Gardner was more than willing to help. In less than 24-hours he provided both indoor and outdoor space for the group for the next three weeks.
“This is our way of giving back to the community,” said Joe Gardner of Dulles Aviation. “We’ve been at the Manassas Regional Airport for 37 years and it feels good to give back.”
Randy Hare of Randy Hare School of Dog Trainers, explained that teaching the dogs to be sensitive to smells through positive reinforcement and making the work a game does incredibly well for law enforcement K9s and search and rescue K9s. Randy’s School has trained K9s and their partners from the FBI, the Army Rangers, The Navy Seals and law enforcement.
When we first arrived to watch the group, they were training a brand new dog. He seemed so happy to be ‘playing the game.’ It is set up like tennis ball hide and seek with the goal of rewarding the dog for finding the correct substance or smell. This dog had only had one day of training. He could be easily distracted, and in fact, found the stash of tennis balls behind the rack of target “smells.”
Next, they brought in a trained dog and tried to distract him from his task. Officers lined up in front of the rack filled with different smells, one being scented with an illegal substance. The officers pet the dog and stood in front of him as he searched, but this did not deter him from his target. He was quickly at the box with the illegal substance in it.
The group will be training at Dulles Aviation at the Manassas Regional Airport for the next three weeks.
“We are just happy we could help out,” said Juan Rivera, Airport Director.