By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

K-9 units give church camp look at 4-legged officers

SNELLVILLE – It was a day for the dogs at an area church Thursday as K-9 units from local law enforcement agencies teamed up for a demonstration for children at summer day camp.

Officers, both human and canine, showed off their skills for the children at the Cannon United Methodist Church Day Camp.

k 9 1190“Kids like to see the dogs,” said Snellville Police Department Lt. David Matson, who handles the city’s newest K-9 officer Jax and worked with retired K-9 officer Chris. “Sometimes there’s this negative aspect of ‘Ooh, it’s a police dog.’ We like to get people familiar with the dogs so at the end of the day, they just see them as dogs.”

Duluth Police Department officer Jimmy Purvis pulls his K-9 Frummel off of DPD officer Phil Halladay.

Matson said many people don’t realize a police dog, when not working, is just as friendly as a “regular” dog. It is not until the trainer tells them to go to work that the dog’s temperament changes. 
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Sherrye Beebe with the church, said she is looking for “anything different” to entertain the 222 children who attend the summer program. She found it with the K-9 demonstration as students watched and listened as the handlers put their dogs through training exercises. 

Right: Jax and camper get acquainted

“We want them to get familiar with the police and the dog so they want they won’t be afraid of either of them,” she said. 

k 9 3 retMatson, and officers and K-9s from the Duluth Police Department and Georgia Gwinnett College K-9 units, showed techniques used in evidence recovery, explosive device detection and apprehension.

Left: Snellville Police Department Lt. David Matson talks to students at Cannon United Methodist Church about police dogs and their training and equipment.

Matson also showed off the equipment K-9 units use including bullet proof vests, muzzles and of course toys for when the dog’s mission is complete. 

Those joining Matson and Jax were:
 •Officer Phil Halladay and K-9 Duko – Duluth PD 
 •Officer Jimmy Purvis and K-9 Frummel – Duluth PD 
 •Officer Misty Howell and K-9 Alf – Duluth PD 
 •Officer Chandler Smith and K-9 Buddy – Georgia Gwinnett College PD 
 •Also present to help with the earlier demos were officers Orlando Concepcion (the newest Snellville K-9 handler), Scott Smith and Marc Thomason.