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Welch: Citizens Police Academy week 2 K9s and drug detection

The second week of the Porterdale Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy was as interesting and informative as it was touching.

We had the opportunity to learn about drug enforcement, with the chance to see many of the popular street drugs encountered by police all over the country on a daily basis. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but crack did not look like I thought it would.

We were also told about the different ways and ease with which these illegal drugs are manufactured. When I heard about some of the things that go into them, it was hard for me to understand why anyone would want to put them in their body. Not judging, mind you, just curious. And seeing how people act while they are on some of this stuff was just plain disturbing.

As interesting as the drug information was, the real highlight of this class was the opportunity to meet Porterdale PD’s K9 Sgt Nina and learn about the different roles that K9 officers play in law enforcement.

Nina is a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois who speaks German. Chief Jason Cripps told us that it took about a year to train Nina. She is trained in drug searching, apprehension and tracking. K9 Sgt Nina is certified by the National Narcotic Detection Dog Association (NNDDA). And she was impressive to watch work – both doing a drug search and apprehending three of our classmates brave enough to don Porterdale PD’s padded bite suit.

Steven Wimpye and the husband and wife team of Marlisha and Timothy Hawkins put on the bite suit to let Nina demonstrate her strength, speed and tenacity when chasing and apprehending fleeing perpetrators. All three talked about how strong Nina is. And once she grabbed them, she didn’t let go until Chief Cripps told her to.

We also had the chance to watch Nina work in a drug detection scenario. Corporal Charles Cook hid street drugs inside furniture in a room and Chief Cripps turned Nina loose. She hit her target every time.

The class got to learn about the Porterdale Police Department’s “We Ride to Provide” K9 Memorial Event. The event pays tribute to fallen K9 officers and raises money to purchase equipment such as K9 first aid kits. We all have special relationships with our dogs. What these officers have with their K9 partners is extra special. It’s hard to come up with the word for it, but you can see it when those who have lost one, talk about their fallen partners.

Next week, we’re going to the Newton County 911 Center. I’ll tell you all about it.

Darryl Welch is a community reporter for The Covington News. He can be contacted at either or 770-728-1438.