Top dog in the River Parishes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 8, 2010



LAPLACE – For the second straight year, a drug sniffing K9 unit from a River Parishes Sheriff’s Office claimed top dog honors at a national competition for narcotics detection.

One year after a St. John Sheriff’s Office K9 unit earned top honors at a competition in Corpus Christi, Texas, a St. Charles Sheriff’s Office K9 took home first place in a competition in Shreveport.

St. Charles Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jason Guidry and his canine companion Berry, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois, finished first among 170 teams competing in the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association training conference, held April 19-22 in Shreveport.

St. Charles Sheriff Greg Champagne said Guidry and Berry were first-time entrants in the competition, which includes teams from across the country.

According to a release from the Sheriff’s Office, in addition to the top dog national award, Guidry and Berry claimed top malinois and top K9 team. Guidry attributes the win to Berry’s aggressiveness in the field.

“While at the starting line for the competition, Berry was straining at the leash,” Guidry said. “He had apparently located at least one of the 10 hidden targets on the course. At the end, Berry was able to find eight of the 10 targets and lost no points for hitting on the same target more than once.”

Major Chuck Bazile, narcotics investigation commander for the St. John Sheriff’s Office who also serves as president of the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association, said the competition consists of a three-minute search of a field littered with file cabinets, footlockers, cars and anything else that could conceal drugs. He said the competition is the culmination of a week’s work of training conducted at the annual conference.

“The competition is held on the last day,” Bazile said. “We regularly field several very talented participants from St. John, St. Charles and St. James parishes. I think we all spend a great deal of time with our dog units.”

Champagne said the K9 division officer work and train with their dog companions on a daily basis. He said the K9 division is called upon frequently and “has been very successful in locating narcotics, fugitives and evidence.”

Champagne said Guidry has been involved with the K9 division since January 2006 and has been working with Berry for a little over three years. He said the Sheriff’s Office has three full time officers assigned to the K9 division along with one K9 officer in the Marine Division and one in the Corrections division.

As for last year’s winners, Bazile said St. John Sheriff’s Office narcotics Detective Monty Adams and his canine partner, a 12-year-old Chocolate Lab named Scoobi, finished fourth in this year’s competition. In addition to last year’s win, Adams and Scoobi also took first place in 2006.