The Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office recently hosted its third annual K9 certification and training event.

Deputy Jason Mower, the sheriff's office spokesperson, said, "This year, we welcomed law enforcement K9 teams from Wyoming, North Dakota, and Montana, and it's my understanding that this event is growing every year with teams from several other surrounding states already slated to attend next year's event."

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"These animals have become very important partners to us in effectively and safely accomplishing a number of different missions that we're tasked with every day as law enforcement officers," Mower said.

Sheriff's office K9 team leader and training coordinator, Sergeant Derek Morrell, explained, "Our annual certification training is a comprehensive week-long, 60-hour event that includes classroom training, written exams, field exercises, and scenario-based activities."

The training included curriculum around agency standards, policy and best practices, a review of pertinent case law from across the country related to the use of force and the use of law enforcement K9 teams, and a number of different field exercises and scenario training focused on human tracking and recovery, article location, fugitive apprehension, free-air sniffs, traffic stops, and narcotics investigations.

"For the last three years, we've been very fortunate and grateful to host K9 Working Dogs International, LLC, which is actually headquartered out of Sullivan, Ohio, to put on this event right here in Sweetwater County," Morrell added.

Both Mower and Morrell expressed that this event wouldn't be possible without support from the community. Morrell said, "In addition to K9 Working Dogs, we also want to thank the Holiday Inn of Rock Springs and the Baymont by Wyndham of Rock Springs for providing K9-friendly hotel rooms, and Western Wyoming Beverages, Sweetwater County Parks and Recreation, the Sweetwater County Events Complex, High Country Realty, Blaine Tate with Brokerage Southwest, and 307 Auto, each for providing property, buildings, vehicles, and supplies to make this unique event and professional-quality training possible."

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