12/11/07 — Police dogs complete training in Goldsboro

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Police dogs complete training in Goldsboro

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on December 11, 2007 1:57 PM

Terrence Fearrington's dog Mickey tore into a reward sock -- a fabric toy the dog received at the end of trials of his nose and intelligence.

Mickey and Chapel Hill Police Department's Fearring-ton both seemed to rejoice in the meaning of the sock: Mickey became a qualified police tracking dog on Friday.

The Goldsboro Police Depart-ment, for the first time, played host to statewide canine officer training last week.

After the dog's qualification, Mickey jumped and Officer Fearrington praised.

"That's a gooood boy. That's a good boy," Fearrington said. "He's friendly. Until I tell him otherwise, he's just as nice as can be."

Friday would probably have been a bad day to speed near Cherry Hospital, as police cars and SUVs of all stripes lined fields near the hospital's N.C. 581 complex.

Off of A Street just past the hospital, uniformed officers paced the fields with their dogs in hopes that they would become qualified in tracking operations.

Later, bomb sniffing dogs would track live -- but unrigged -- explosives at a local car dealership which was one of many of the event's sponsors.

Then, on Saturday, narcotics dogs chased down scents that would qualify them to ferret out such illicit fare when needed.

Dogs like Mickey are needed to chase down suspects and purse snatchers. They can also help in abductions and missing persons cases, among a variety of other functions.

Goldsboro K9 Officer Wayne Cannucci helped organize the day, noting that police dog units from as far away as Aiken, S.C. -- a five-hour drive -- made the trek to Goldsboro for twice-annual dog training.

"There are 69 total units here," Cannucci said Friday with a proud grin, pausing to praise the support of local businesses and police Chief Tim Bell.

Then, Cannucci explained the trial a tracking dog must complete to become qualified.

Objects are dropped on the ground as a scent trail is laid for the dog, which is not a straight line for the dog to follow.

Police have a certain protocol for laying the scent trail, and a "cross trail" is laid as well.

A cross trail is another scent run across the original scent trail, an effort to make things more difficult, Cannucci said.

When the dog completes the trial, he gets his reward sock, and police officers on scene said the dogs seem to appreciate the significance of the toy.

The U.S. Police Canine Association handles the accreditation of the dogs, Cannucci said.

It's costly to train these dogs, Cannucci said -- $11,000 just for the canine's purchase and initial training. More expenses accrue over the life of the police animal.