The President’s Perspective
The 2017 A.P.C.A National Training Conference…A Week in Review.
This year’s national conference was given high marks by our attending members in which was graded as an exceptional training event. The Knox County Sheriff’s Department and the Vincennes Police Department are to be congratulated on a phenomenal job in planning and hosting a very organized and top caliber national conference. Special A.P.C.A. Thanks to Knox County Sheriff Mike Morris, Vincennes Chief of Police Dusty Luking, Captain Bill Poe – Knox County S.D., Captain James Wehrman – Knox County S.D., Detective Josh Burke-Vincennes .PD., Officer Mike Caswell – Vincennes P.D. and Officer Kody Waggoner-Vincennes P.D. our national planning team, who spent the past year in preparing for the association’s main event. The association is very appreciative to both of these departments and individuals who committed themselves to this monumental responsibility in providing a conference which will always be remembered as nothing less than outstanding.
The association began this year’s festivities with the Sunday, “Kick-Off” Cookout in which members feasted on brats, hamburgers, hot dogs and grilled chicken and all the fixings. Members enjoyed the evening catching up and networking with one another. The Executive Board and Accreditation Board also convened for their fall meetings. The Executive Board discussed incorporating individual state funded departments into the membership and its impact on the association in regard to certifications, training, elections and board representation. Appeals Board Chairman Roger Reardon also discussed with the board the protocols and procedures of the newly formed A.P.C.A. Appeals Board and its established purpose. The 2018 National Conference was also discussed in which included financial considerations, location and regional support. Written coorespondence was provided in a bid request for next year’s hosting location of Lawrence County, Indiana.
In Accreditation Board business, the board adopted new rules pertaining to Master Trainer and Trainer Activity clauses and provided new provisions and definitions as to being an Active Trainer or Master Trainer. The Board ruled that mere attendance at a sancitioned workshop, while not instructing at a sanctioned event did not meet the “Active” requirements definition. The Board also implemented new trainer and master trainer applicant critique forms in the Utility and Detection phases. The board also implemented a ruling requiring a minimum of three (3) canine teams trained by the applicant in the phases he or she was applying for prior to submitting their applicant packages to the board. The applicant must have trained three (3) K-9 teams from the “green dog” level to A.P.C.A. certification level. The Accreditation Board also approved three (3) Master Trainer applicants in the phases of Patrol / Narcotics Detection. The following individuals were approved as entry level Master Trainers; Deputy Lennie B. Rivera – Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office North Carolina, Captain Billy Downey-Gaston County Police Department, North Carolina and Officer Robbie Waldrop – Gaston County Police Department, North Carolina. Congratulations to each of the individuals.
On Monday, September 25, 2017 the association convened its annual General Membership Meeting for the conducting of association business and election of offices. The membership cast their votes and elected Denny A. Kunkel as association Vice-President, Melissa C. Morgan as association Secretary, Russ K. Day as Director #2 and Lennie B. Rivera as Director #4. Each of these individuals will serve a three year term of office. Congratulations to each of these elected officers. The membership also voted for the hosting location of the 2018 National Training Conference to be in Lawrence County, Indiana September 16-20, 2018 at the Fourwinds Resort and Marina, Bloomington, Indiana.
Training at this year’s conference consisted of sites throughout the City of Vincennes, Indiana and surrounding areas. Several training locations were also on Vincennes University Campus. This year’s guest instructors included Ron Ligtenberg from Amsterdam, Holland who provided highly sought decoy instruction and reading drives in working K-9’s. Sheriff Mike Neal, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas provided tactical shooting instruction incoroporating vehicles and moving targets with both duty weapon and patrol riffles. Attorney John M. Peters, Rochester, Michigan provided two legal lecutures pertaining to fourth amendment case law and tracking cases. Water deployment training was instructed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources incorporating airboats on the Wabash River.
On Tuesday, September 26, 2017 the association performed a Public K-9 Demonstration at Inmann Field in Vincennes, Indiana before several thousand spectators. A police convoy extending almost 1 1/2 miles filed through the city on the route to the stadium in which bystanders lined the streets to greet and photograph the many K-9 Teams participating in the evenings big event. The Lt. Govenor of Indiana also issued a proclamation which was read before the audience recognizing law enforcement in the service to our United States Citizens. The shows grand fanallee was a MASH Helicopter landing on the field with a K-9 Deployment of a fleeing suspect.
The annual A.P.C.A. Law Enforcement Awards Dinner was held on September 28, 2017 with Monroe County Sheriff, Mike Neal presenting the keynote address in which he discussed the Wal-mart Shooting Incident in Arkansas. Eight Law Enforcement Awards were presented by the A.P.C.A. Awards Committee Chairman, Scott Adam, President Mike Johnson and Vice-President, Denny Kunkel. Executive Board Citation Awards were presented to the Knox County Sheriff’s Department and the Vincennes Police Department in hosting the 2017 A.P.C.A. National Conference. Officer Jeff Sanders & K-9 Baya, Marshall Police Department, Illinois received the 2017 Excellence in Service Award. The 2017 A.P.C.A. President’s Award for Narcotics Detection Team of the Year (United States Large Level Department) was presented to Deputy Brooks A. Urquhart & K-9 Rico, Florence County Sheriff’s Office, South Carolina. The 2017 A.P.C.A. President’s Award for Narcotics Detection Team of the Year (United States Small Level Department) was presented to Officer Christopher C. Hester & K-9 Sledge, Mooresville Police Department, Indiana and Deputy Cody W. St.John & K-9 Daino, Morgan County Sheriff;s Department, Indiana. The 2017 A.P.C.A. President’s Award for Narcotics Interdiction Team of the Year was presented to Officer Kenneth L. Williams & K-9 Mojo, Hobart Police Department, Indiana. The 2017 A.P.C.A. President’s Award for Patrol Dog Team of the Year (United States Large Level Department) was presented to Deputy Lennie B. Rivera & K-9 Storm, Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina.
In closing, I wish to extend the American Police Canine Association’s heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to the many law enforcement agencies, individuals and companies that made the 2017 National Training Conference a truly great training experience. Your hard work and commitment in presenting a forever memorable conference is one in which you and our association can be proud of. We salute each and everyone of you. Thank you again. To our law enforcement brothers and sisters, be vigilant and stay safe as you wear the badge.
Until we meet again, keep training those dogs!
Mike Johnson, President
American Police Canine Association