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Baton Rouge's finest K-9 officers to compete in USPCA dog trials

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BATON ROUGE - BRPD's finest K-9 officers are training for the upcoming United States Police Canine Association Dog Trials set for June 10-14.

The Baton Rouge Police Department currently has 15 K-9 officers on the force. As the heat intensifies, so does the crime.

"Every year, usually when the temperatures rise up, you do see an influx of crime. With our K9 officers, this is just another tool the department has to curve that crime," BRPD Sgt. Don Coppola says.

East Baton Rouge Parish saw a record number of homicides just last year. But Baton Rouge Police have four-legged officers on their side.

"We ride around at night. Simon will be in the car with me. We respond to alarms, burglaries, violent crimes. Anything that we can do to use our dogs to be an assistant to the patrol officers on the streets," says Officer John Crisler, who trained with his partner Simon for 480 hours.

Simon is a tracker. He's able to chase and find the bad guys when they run. But he's also the one called in to look for missing children, the elderly or mentally ill patients.

"Ways that we may have never found them with just a police officer, looking for a person, our dogs can lead us to a person much faster, much safer," Officer Crisler says.

The Baton Rouge Police Department not only has K-9 patrol officers but narcotics and explosives dogs too.

"The training never stops, because they can always get better and you want to keep them sharp," Officer Crisler adds.

To stay sharp, these officers will participate in the dog trials in New Roads next week, at the Point Coupee STEM Academy. They've been competing for years to be the top dogs in law enforcement. Everything from agility, obedience, to finding weapons and catching suspects will be tested.

All of this is so the K-9 officers can be recertified and return to the streets to fight crime. And these officers are constantly with their handlers, whether it be on the job or at home. The partners double as their family.

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