The Police K-9 Association is an Ohio nonprofit organization that was formed in 1985, shortly after the Canton Police Department’s K-9 unit started.
The original founding members created statutes. These were created by K-9 managers, for K-9 managers. Since then, our reach has grown exponentially, involving multiple departments in Ohio.
Our board of directors (all volunteers) was historically represented by the police; however, it also grew to include two civilians. Amy Stover was elected in 2020 as Senior Vice President for Women / Civilians, and Ashley Caley has joined us to help us in our development.
Our Treasurer, David Samuels, is an active full-time K-9 Manager (K-9 Bas) proudly representing the city of Canton. Michael Pierce, our secretary, is an active full-time K-9 Manager (K-9 Diesel) proudly representing the City of New Philadelphia. Michael Hickman (K-9 Onyx, Town of Uhrichsville), Bill Nedrow (K-9 Rex, Town of Dover) and Joe Barnhouse (K-9 Vlad, Retired) proudly represent our Board of Directors as Directors.
The Police K-9 Association was formed to help get the equipment and training necessary to be a successful K-9 team.
Each week, several law enforcement officers and their K-9 partners travel from various parts of Ohio to Canton to train at the Canton Police Department’s K-9 field. Our partnership with the Canton Police Department has spanned decades and this relationship is integral to continuing to prepare multiple K-9 teams for success.
A K-9 team will achieve multiple certifications during their tenure and at least annually. Each K-9 is chosen based on its intended use with the department.
A single-use K-9 is only used for detection. These officers are specifically trained in the detection of narcotics or explosives. There are also single-use K-9s that focus only on detecting men and corpses.
Our dual-use K-9s are certified in narcotics or explosives detection as well as apprehension. These teams must use their time effectively to train effectively in both disciplines.
Examples of what our teams regularly do in your communities:
- SWAT / High Intensity Operations
- Searches for buildings and evidence, including firearms, knives, etc.
- Missing persons
- Drug detection
- Explosives detection
- Follow-up of suspects
- Kindergarten to Grade 9 School Resource Officers
There are costs to starting and maintaining a successful K-9 program. City and county financial outlays often reduce the equipment needed to maintain police in other areas. This is where the Police K-9 Association helps these agencies. We help offset the cost of education, training, equipment and medical needs for active and retired K-9 students.
Primarily, all PK9A members are responsible for their training documentation using software paid for by the association. We offer annual PackTrack subscriptions (www.packtrackapp.com) to each member.
Many departments do not have the funds to provide electronic training records. We understand the importance of this for record keeping and documentation, so this makes it a membership requirement.
The necessary and life-saving equipment provided to our teams includes (but not limited to) muzzles, leashes, training collars, electronic collars, impact boxes, Narcan, special assistance with ballistic vests, etc.
On a medical level, we cover veterinary / dental costs for active and retired K-9s, as well as end-of-life value such as assistance at the veterinary office, a personalized urn for the family, a tombstone in our cemetery and any other special dedicated memorial. to the fallen.
We are looking for opportunities for our members to expand their knowledge as often as possible. This helps them and in turn protects you. The PK9A offers our teams the opportunity to attend national conferences, trainings and certifications.
The K-9 Police Association assists K-9 managers from more than 20 police and sheriff departments, including state agencies with 50 K-9s – active, retired and currently in training. Our teams regularly assist federal agencies, as well as large-scale security operations.
We are a family at PK9A. We will continue to grow as the need for K-9 continues to increase. So is our responsibility to support these K-9 teams. We are eternally grateful that local and national support has helped us tremendously in accomplishing our mission.
To learn more and stay in touch with our teams, follow us on Facebook and Instagram at Association Police K-9 or on our website at www.pk9a.com.
Constable Christopher Heslop is President and Director of Training for the K-9 Police Association.