Thursday, June 15, 2017

St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit Handlers Earn Certifications

On May 31, DFC Lacey Johnson and K-9 Brix finished the Basic Canine Handler Course and were certified at the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Center by Master Canine Trainer Todd Fleenor. Master Canine Trainer Brian Fleig from the Anne Arundel County Police and Rene Cuyler from the Charles County Sheriff’s Office also witnessed the certification.

The Basic Canine Handler Course started on Feb. 13 and ended on June 2. The Canine Team is now certified in the areas of Patrol and Narcotics Detection. In order to be certified in those areas, the canine team had to demonstrate obedience, agility, tracking, building searches and aggression control for patrol and vehicle searches, open area searches and building searches for narcotics detection.

(L-R) Cathcart, Fleenor, Layla, Johnson, and Cpl. Rishel
At the traditional K-9 pinning ceremony on June 6, Johnson received the canine team’s certificates. Corporal Shawn Cathcart was presented with a certification as an Assistant Canine Trainer in the areas of patrols, narcotics and explosives detection.

During the ceremony, Fleenor congratulated Johnson by saying, “I am super proud; she did an awesome job.”

He also thanked Cathcart for his leadership in assisting and serving as a mentor to Johnson. After, Layla, an 11-year-old who raised $1300 for the unit was thanked for her selfless efforts.

"I think DFC Johnson and Laya displayed some of the most important and valuable things," Captain Steven Hall said, "time, due to how little we have of it, and effort because the measure given is often the difference between reaching a goal or falling short.”

Johnson will be formally certified and recognized in November with the International Police Work Dog Association (IPWDA) at the 2017 Maryland Canine Workshop. Cathcart will attend the 2017 IPWDA Canine Nationals in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He will then undergo written testing and an interview board to become a Canine Trainer with the organization.

Please join Sheriff Tim Cameron and the men and women of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office in congratulating Cathcart on his certification as an Assistant Canine Trainer and Johnson and K-9 Brix for completing the Basic Canine Handler Course.