K-9 competition brings police dogs from across Florida to Boynton Beach

North Port Police Officer Keith Bush and his K-9 companion, Tomy, didn’t miss a beat Saturday as they flew through an obstacle course designed to replicate a real-life pursuit complete with walls to scale, buildings to search and bad guys to apprehend. The duo finished the course, which took up most of the football field at Boynton Beach High School, in just over a minute and a half, earning them top honors at Saturday’s South Florida Police Competition. “This is just playtime to him,” said Bush, who has worked as Tomy’s handler for 3 years. “He really is an athlete.” Bush traveled from North Port, which lies between Sarasota and Port Charlotte on Florida’s gulf coast, a day early so the two could practice before the event. Bush and Tomy, a Belgian Malinois, came in second place at the competition last year. The pair has competed in similar events across the country. “We just like to compete,” Bush said. Roughly three dozen officers from across the state took part in Saturday’s competition, which was designed to raise money for the Boynton Beach Police Department’s K-9 unit. But organizers said the event also gives officers and their dogs a way to demonstrate their work to the public. “People don’t realize what a valuable tool these dogs are,” said Boynton Beach Police Officer Brian Adams, who helped organize Saturday’s competition. Hundreds of people crowded into stand at the football field to watch the competition. There were also games and activities for children. Francisco Landin, 11, of Delray Beach said his mother was driving along Gateway Boulevard when they noticed signs for the event and a group police cars parked at the school. They decided to stop and watch the competition. Landin said he has seen police dogs portrayed in movies, but never witnessed a real K-9 unit in action. “Before I though they were just playing around,” Landin said. “But when I saw them on the field, I thought, ‘Yeah, they really help us.’ ” The event began in 2012 to help the Boynton Beach K-9 unit raise money during lean budget times. Police dogs typically cost about $10,000 each, and it can be difficult to budget for a new dog because officers don’t always know when a member of the unit will retire, Adams said. In 2012, the department was able to raise enough money from the competition to purchase a new police dog. The 3-year-old German shepherd, named Daxxx, competed in Saturday’s competition with his handler, Officer Joe Crowder. The hometown pair received the loudest applause of the day, completing the course in about 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Crowder said K-9 competitions like Saturday’s event are important because they show the public that police dogs are not always aggressive. “We do it for a little recognition to show the people that K-9s are not bad dogs,” Crowder said. Crowder, who has been with the Boynton Beach Police Department for 12 years, said he planned to give Daxxx some chicken as a treat for completing the course. “They are just like a pet,” Crowder said.


Officer Shawn Lyman of Boca Raton goes over an obstacle with his police dog Max during the 2014 South Florida Police K9 Competition at Boynton Beach High School on Feb. 22, 2014.
Source: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/photo/news/local/k-9-competition-brings-police-dogs-from-across-flo/p7Rr2/