K-9 Units from Across the Country Compete in Springfield

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Springfield - Whether on patrol, or on the obstacle course, K-9 handlers and their K-9 partners are teammates.

Sixty-nine teams of K-9 units are in Springfield competing in this week's USPCA nationals competition, vying to be the best in the country.

"There's 6 different courses that the United States Police Canine Association employs are obedience, agility which is behind me, evidence search, suspect search, apprehension with and without gunfire," said Springfield police K-9 patrol officer Ryan Machin.

This competition brings K-9 units from all over the country.  They're not only here competing, but they're also here for a purpose.  

They're getting certification to show their local communities how important these K-9 teams are.

"K-9 teams from across the country working in their communities have the ability to perform functions and accomplish missions of the department of which they serve.  So it gives the community comfort to know their K-9 teams out their performing the mission, the administration of the various departments the comfort to know that they can deploy their dog teams and know that they're going to do the best of their ability and have the backing of the USPCA saying that these are the best of the best," added Machin.

In Illinois, K-9 dogs are considered officers of the law, and those who wound or a kill a police dog will face the same charges as killing a human police officer.

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