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Valdosta Police Department introduces new K-9

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 3:07 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) - The Valdosta Police Department says it has added a new K-9 to its force: a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois named Iva.

Iva is filled with dedication, drive and lots of fluff, according to VPD. Officer James Turner, who has worked at VPD for about six years now, is her K-9 handler.

The department says Turner has worked in the K-9 unit for three years, and he and Iva recently completed a nine-week course for K-9 instructors in New Market, Alabama.

“Not only did this course assist the pair with additional skill sets such as narcotic detection, tracking, and apprehension while on the job, but once the course was completed, Officer Turner officially received Iva as his new partner,” the press release says.

The department says Iva’s nerves caused the pair to have a rocky start to their relationship, but now the two have a strong bond.

“Once she began to trust me a little more, we formed an emotional relationship, and it has been going very well,” Turner says. “You can tell that she is eager to please me and do what I need her to do. She is a thinker, and I can see the wheels constantly turning in her head.”

With the new certification, Turner can not only keep Iva up to speed on the necessary K-9 skills, but he can also train new police dogs as they arrive at VPD. In order to join and stay on the K-9 unit, new handlers and dogs must complete a lot of training before joining and while on the team, VPD says.

Following an eight-week course, K-9 teams are required to do at least 16 hours of training monthly to keep their skills fresh, the release says.

VPD has a total of seven dogs in the K-9 unit: five dual-purpose dogs, one explosive and firearm detection specialist and one comfort dog.

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