Take a look into the history of the Richmond K9 unit, with a detailed account of the story from 1957 to the present.
Retired Richmond Officer and K9 handler Harry Pherson spent 5 years of research and interviewing to get all of this information. We thank him for his service, time involved, and allowing us to use all the photos and information in the history section.
He was walking a beat and a couple of friendly canine companions, who were not even sworn into the department, were walking with him. Suddenly they bristled at a pile of packing boxes. Garton stopped and checked beneath the rubble pile and under one of the boxes lay before him was a thief, heavily laden with stolen goods, including several hams.
This very well may have been the seed that was planted for the Richmond Police K-9 Unit. It was Bureau of Police Chief O. D. Garton who envisioned the use of dogs in police work. Chief Garton was a huntsman who admired and knew the value of a good dog. That night may have stuck with Chief Garton for many years so when the day came he of all people recommended they add dogs to the police department. He began working on making inquiries and studies into the use of the animals in police work. Word went out, and he contacted information from other police department’s using dogs around the country, inquiring about the use and effectiveness of dogs in police work.
The First Steps
In the late summer of 1957, a conference was held between Colonel O. D. Garton, then Chief of Police of the City of Richmond, and Mr. W. L. Groth, Director of Public Safety for the City of Richmond.
Chief Garton, being sold on the idea, was sure that if the city had just two dogs that they could help reduce crimes of purse-snatching and prowlers, and could have apprehended the criminals who have out run the police before and would certainly be in jail now due to the efforts of the k9. The conference discussed the issues of using German Shepherd Dogs for the task. Within the same year a decision was made to study the feasibility and of the acquiring of the dogs for the job. Reports were solicited from other cities then using police dogs, such as New York City and Baltimore, Maryland and Portland Oregon. Some of the information was favorable and others were not.
One of the biggest issues to plague Chief Garton’s idea, was how the public would perceive the idea of dogs and whether they would be looked upon as being aggressive or dangerous. In a reply from the Portland, Oregon Police Department, their Department took a beating financially when it decided to drop it’s canine program and sell all thirteen of their dog’s. The canine program was dropped from Portland because the city ruled them as dangerous in the hands of inexperienced handlers. The City of Portland reported that there were bites to innocent people, even in the hands of policemen, who were supposed to be trained to handle them. Even though the dog program was supported in Portland under a new Chief, budget constraints became another issue. While the Chief of Portland was trying to cut programs and clean house within the department, the canine unit was one of the first to go. So ended the Portland Police Department’s K-9 program in Oregon. Even though Portland’s experience with dogs was not favorable there were other cities that had positive experiences with them. One of these being the Baltimore Maryland Police Department.
Major L. Wilson Davis was the head of the Baltimore Police Canine Squad. He came from outside of the Baltimore Police Department after being in the wholesale produce business and had worked with dogs in the Marine Corps during W.W. II. He was recruited to take over supervision of that department’s canine program. A local dog obedience club in Richmond, whose interest was prompted by the Richmond Police Bureau’s interest in police dogs, invited Major L. Wilson Davis, to visit the City Of Richmond. Major L. Wilson Davis brought with him a 90 lb. three year old German Shepherd named “Prince” who made several appearances and a special exhibition before the “City Council of Richmond” and the “City Public Safety Officials”. In addition other public hearings were given for the “Virginia Kennel Club”, “The German Shepherd Dog Club” and the “Commonwealth Obedience Training Club”, which were held regarding the use of dogs in police work. Major Davis impressed the area dog lovers with the working ability of the German Shepherds Dogs.
Major L. Wilson Davis showed the City of Richmond Officials the capabilities of the dogs in police work by providing statistics of their efforts. The Baltimore Police Department’s Canine Squad, which was less than one year old, was already doing the work that eight to ten patrolman were capable of doing. According to the Police Commissioner in Baltimore, James M. Hepbron, “They patrolled ‘hot’ areas where crime is the heaviest, and there’s nothing a criminal would like less than to see a police dog on his trail”. Davis told the Richmond City Council members, that the street type crimes in Baltimore, such as muggings and pocket picking, have been greatly reduced in the areas patrolled by the officers and their k9 partners. Major Davis further indicated that in one month, by using a dog, it had tracked down six men who had terrorized a local restaurant. “The dog, a large German Shepherd, stood guard on the men while the police searched them”, stated Davis. “The day before, the same dog tracked a suspect into a building. The suspect elected to crash through a ceiling sky light than face the dog”.
Major Davis continued to elaborate about the dog’s capabilities. Knowing that the dog’s ability to smell much better than it’s human counter part can be a great advantage when it comes to tracking a suspect. He further indicated that the dogs can run faster and can be trained to attack exactly as directed by their masters.
Baltimore’s Police dogs were obedience trained. They were taught to perform basic obedience skills and commands, such as heeling and recalls (coming back to the handler’s side and sit upon return). They were trained to stay under any circumstance and only allowed to move when their master gave the command. The dogs were trained to search for persons in buildings and wooded areas. If the suspect stood still, the dog would not attack. It was a proven fact that the dogs could out perform several police officers in searching and tracking assignments and can accomplish these tasks much quicker than several police officers, thus saving a lot of valuable time.
Each dog was assigned to an officer with whom he goes through as rigid training program. Davis stated, that Baltimore’s dogs are put through an eight-week training program but felt that a twelve-week training program would be better. Screening requirements for the selection of the officers were that they must each have a car and have his own home and a yard in which to keep the dog.
The Go Ahead
Around November of 1957, after the information and demonstrations that were presented to the City officials by Major Davis from Baltimore, Safety Director W. L. Groth approved the immediate establishment of the first K-9 Corp for the Richmond Bureau of Police. Chief Garton made a public notice through the local newspaper (Richmond Times Dispatch, November 20, 1957) that the Bureau of Police would be interested in hearing from citizens who would be willing to donate dogs for use in the new k9 corps. The department was seeking dog’s preferably male German Shepherds ages one to two years old. In addition to looking for dogs, Chief Garton was asking for citizens who may have some dog training qualifications, and who would be willing to assist the bureau in the new canine training program.
Chief Garton stated, “even within the ranks of the Bureau of Police, we’ll rely strictly on volunteers,” Chief Garton said that the first step would be to seek out the best qualified men within the police force “who are interested and willing to follow the rules which are going to apply for working the dogs”. “I don’t think we’ll have any problem getting volunteers within the bureau to work with the dogs”, stated Chief Garton. “We have a lot of men who are good trainers with hunting dogs”. It was also at this time consideration had to be given to send a policeman to Baltimore, Maryland, to observe the dogs in action and bring back detailed reports of the training and the operating procedures.
A call was sent through out the bureau for volunteers. Responses were numerous, but applicants were carefully screened. The qualifications for the applicants were exacting and required that each man have a good service record, the proper facilities for providing a good home for the dog, a real desire to work with the dog and the agreement of the wife to have the dog around the house. This last requirement was the most important. Immediately responses came in and ten dogs were donated to the Bureau from various owners. Chief Garton knew then that only three dogs would be selected. He already had plans as to where they would be placed. He suggested that one dog would be used to the North Side of Richmond and one to the Southside. The other dog would be carried around in a car, a “roving rover” as it was dubbed.
On December 1, 1957, Sergeant F. G. Clark, Jr. was selected to organize a k-9 corps for the Richmond Bureau Police. His selection was based upon his prior experience with dogs. Even though Sgt. Clark had no formal dog training experience, he was to be known has a dog enthusiast and an avid hunter.
He seemed suited for the task and had just been promoted to Sgt, June of 1957. Sgt. Clark was sent to Baltimore, Maryland, during the month of December to study the training methods and the procedure by which to select k9 handlers. When Sergeant Clark returned home, he was convinced that properly trained dogs were an asset to law enforcement. An evaluation report was submitted by Sgt. Clark, to the Chief of Police and the Public Safety Director who upon reading the report gave permission to proceed with the organization of the Richmond Bureau of Police K-9 Corps. Within the report, Sgt. Clark noted that the City of Baltimore had a significant reduction in certain types of crime within the city where the dogs were being used. Those being purse snatches, which were down 78 percent in the past year of 1957. Also a reduction in auto thefts, down 40 percent and an over all crime reduction of about 27 percent. Even thought he did not attribute all of the reduction to the dogs, there was some consideration given where the dogs were used.
Sgt. Clarks report also included other recommendations, which included the location for a training obstacle course, which had to be constructed. Consideration was given to the police firing range near Mechanicsville Turnpike just inside Henrico County. Other recommendations were to give the officers special provisions for certain equipment. One of which was a leather jacket. The men often let the dog’s use their backs as a jumping ramp for entry into high windows, Sgt Clark stated. Other item’s such as costs for the dogs, which include the annual cost of upkeep, was estimated to be around $215.00 each year. These costs included veterinarian fees, estimated to be about $40.00; food cost of about $160.00 a year, leashes, choke chains and incidentals that came to about $15.00. The director said that the initial costs involved can be absorbed, although, of course, a continuation of the program later would have to be budgeted.
It was clearly understood that even with the approval of the canine corps program, it didn’t necessarily mean that the projected k9 teams would be patrolling the streets within the next few days or even the next several weeks. This was Based on a recommendation by Major Davis, of Baltimore, that street duty is preceded by a training program of at least twelve weeks. Sgt. Clark understood what lay before him and by January of 1958, the acquisitions of three German Shepherds were made and three officers were assigned. Sgt. F. G. Clark, Patrolman Doug L. Nuckols, Patrolman E. F. Jackson, Patrolman G. L. Crosswhite.
Sgt. Clark was held of the opinion that German Shepherds are a breed universally accepted for police work because of its adaptability, alertness, and loyalty. Based on a report from the Baltimore officials, only about one out of every four dogs offered, as a donation, would prove to have the necessary temperament suited for the type of work needed in law enforcement. That would mean that the possibility existed that any number, one, two or even three dogs donated might ultimately have to be rejected.
On February 18, 1958, after the selection of the teams the training began. Officer Crosswhite was teamed with K-9 “Sergeant”, Officer D. L. Nuckols with K-9, “Baron”, Officer E. F. Jackson and K-9, “Major” and Sgt. Clark was teamed up with K-9, “Chief”.
It was snowy and a cold day as the group headed to the training grounds in Bryan Park located in the north side of Richmond near the Henrico County line. According to a local paper, the area schools were closed and kids were sledding nearby as the first K-9 school was in session. The first matter at hand was the obedience work. It consisted of teaching the dogs to “sit”, “heel”, and “come” when the handlers commanded them. No obstacle course was prepared yet because no location had been found. Jumps had to be built in addition to many other devices used to create an obstacle course to train the dogs.
During the phase of apprehension work, the dogs had to be under the handlers constant control at all times and to release upon the handlers command. The dogs were required to pursue suspects under gunfire and to cease pursuit when the suspect surrendered, but to guard the suspect until the handler arrived. Finally, the dogs were taught to track, to discriminate between scents, to seek out articles, to search buildings room by room and to pursue the search until the suspect was apprehended.
Even with all of the dog training that needed to be done, the officer’s also had to take the time to build all of the jumps and obstacles that they would need to train the dogs efficiently. It was a labor intensive job that all of the handlers had to endure.
Over the course of the twelve weeks the officers labored extensively training the dogs and providing a training facility. Even the public got involved to help in the training. One such individual was Bob Richmond who worked at the Spruance Chemical Plant for Dupont. Bob was asked to help in the training because of his interest in dogs. Mr. Richmond was an active member of the Virginia Kennel Club and through his training techniques, had produced excellent results of several of his own dogs.
During the training period, the dogs were taken to busy sections of the City of Richmond where they were taught to become accustomed to the sounds of a busy city, such as vehicular traffic noises, the crowded areas of the department stores and all of the normal everyday city sights and sounds. This was a type of socialization, needed to determine if any of the dogs had any problems with these distractions. With the absence of an training course other man made devices became useful. Drainage culverts were used to expose the dog and handler to walls. Park benches became hurdles. An nearby over pass also became a means of shelter when the weather was foul and the officers needed to get in out of the rain. Twelve-weeks passed and all were finished with the training. It appeared that the dogs and the men were then ready for the eight to ten years of service.
Richmond’s first Police K-9 Unit graduated on Saturday, June 7, 1958, in Richmond’s Bryan Park. A special outdoor demonstration and graduation ceremony was held for the four graduating canines and their handlers. During the course of the school all four of the dogs excelled in special areas and upon graduating they were recognized for their ability.
K-9 “Fritz”, Sgt. Clark’s k-9, was awarded the best jumper. K-9 “Sergeant” (Ptlm. H. E. Creasy) was awarded the best building searcher. K-9 “Captain”,(Ptlm. D. L. Nuckols) was awarded the best tracker and K-9 “Major”,(Ptlm. E. F. Jackson) was the best on attack skills. All four dogs were certified in the areas of tracking, searching and attack work and obedience. It should be noted that it is uncertain as to what kind of certification guidelines were followed and by what were the standards.
Now that the dogs had completed the training program, it was time to put all this training to use. It was decided that the dog teams were going to be used in some of the Richmond area’s trouble spot’s. These areas were where the police had a series of break-in’s, purse snatches, robberies and muggings. The k-9 corps would work walking beat’s in these areas where these incidents were occurring. On June 10, 1958, the first K-9 team hit the street.
The First Night on The Street, June 10, 1958
The first night of patrolling was not without incident. In a story covered by The Richmond News Leader, dated June 11, 1958, Carl Shires, a reporter with the Newspaper, described some of the night’s first events. He covered the incident with K-9 “Major” and Patrolman E. F. Jackson as they went through the night patrolling the streets of Richmond. Patrolman Jackson and “Major” were assigned to a beat, which covered the area of Lombardy St. to Meadow St. and Broad St. to Main St. One of the first incidents that occurred was that “Major” was attacked. Not by a person but by what was described as a “snarling, scratching, 8 pound bundle of “cop-hating,” black alley cat. It was to have occurred in the 1700 block of Grove Ave. about 11:30 p.m. As K-9 “Major” was walking down the sidewalk. He was sniffing some hedges along the path when all of a sudden, from the hedges came an alley cat, which landed on top of “Majors” head. “Major” was to have let out a loud yelp and shook the cat from its head. The cat, took off running across the street. It was reported that Patrolman E. F. Jackson had his hands full there for a moment.
For the other patrolman on duty that night they to had some tales to tell. Patrolman Doug Nuckols and his K-9 “Captain”, were assigned to walking beat number #10. This beat encompassed the area of Harrison St. to Jefferson Ave. to Cary St. and Broad St. As they were walking in the area of Henry St., between Franklin St and Grace St. About 12:15 a. m., Patrolman Nuckols and “Captain” observed what was described as a fight between two drunks. As the team approached the two individuals, one of the men ran away. Patrolman Nuckols did not release the dog and the man got away. K-9 “Captain” was utilized to try to track the suspect but lost the scent. Nuckols returned to the scene of the fight and later revealed that what he observed was not just a fight between two drunks but a robbery that was about to take place. It seemed that of the two men, who had been drinking, one of them decided he was going to take approximately $250.00 from the other man. A robbery had been prevented.
In another area of the City, Patrolman Creasy and K-9 “Sergeant”, were near Foushee St. and Grace St., and found what appeared to be a break-in to a vehicle. The vehicle was filled with clothes, perhaps the motive for breaking into the vehicle. Patrolman Creasy noticed a man standing near by and may have thought he was a suspect, but further investigation revealed that there was not enough evidence to implicate the man and so he was not arrested.
Sgt. Clark and K-9 “Fritz” were called to 1326 West Broad St. for what was thought to be a break-in at a house. When Sgt. Clark arrived at the scene the other officers were already inside the residence so Sgt. Clark could not release his K-9. Having to deal with this obstacle, Sgt Clark and K-9 “Fritz” still managed to conduct a search of the house without incident. No suspects were found. Sgt. Clark and “Fritz” cruised the city in a car checking on the other men during the course of the night and also made him (Sgt. Clark) available for any calls that would require the use of his K-9 partner. Patrolman Jackson and K-9 “Major” walked the beat from Lombardy St, to Meadow St. and from Broad St. to W. Main St.
Their night was not without out incident either. Patrolman Jackson spotted what he though was a flashlight in an alley about 2:30 a.m.. As he investigated, it turned out that it was a man doing some work. Ptlm. Jackson asked the man if he lived in the neighborhood and the man replied he did not. “I live over by the State Fairgrounds” the man replied. “You must live close by”, the man inquired of Ptlm. Jackson and apparently unaware of whom Jackson really was. “Figured you must live close by to be out walking your dog this time of night”. It was about this time when a glimmer of light must have reflected off of Patrolman Jackson’s badge and the man realizing whom he was talking to who then promptly turned and walked away after giving a grunt of displeasure.
According to information provided by Acting Chief of Police, Major John M. Wright, in the first year of service, the Police Canine Corps was credited with over 480 arrests. It was believed that some of the arrests would have been made even with out the dogs, but it was still decided that the dogs did provide a certain amount of a psychological deterrent to assist in the catching of criminals. 220 of the arrests were made for drunks and 88 for disorderly, but it was indicated that there were some criminals caught that may not have been, if it were not for the use of the k-9′s. The K-9 Corps was credited for dispersing several unruly crowds and assisting two officers after they broke up a group of nine disorderly men who were having a free-for-all. The k9 officer were able to subdue men and placed them up against a wall to search while their canine counterparts stood guard behind them.
On one particular incident, police were called to search a warehouse that had been broken into and police officers searched the building for the better part of an hour and a half. Not finding anyone they called in a k-9 officer and his dog. K9 “Fritz” and Sgt. Clark began searching the building and approximately 30 seconds later the criminal was in custody. On another night, k-9 “Fritz” and Sgt. Clark again were called to look for a man suspected of stealing a car. They observed the suspect in Byrd Park and K-9 “Fritz” chased the suspect up a tree and stayed there until the troops arrived to apprehend him. One of the other K-9 dogs was credited with apprehending two men who had robbed a woman around 1st St. and W. Broad St.
K-9 “Sergeant” was credited for tracking down a suspect who had abandoned a stolen car in the East End of Richmond. K-9 “Sergeant” located the man hiding in a yard not far from the stolen car. K-9 “Sergeant” was not without his dues. On one occasion, K-9 “Sergeant” was turned loose to find a criminal accused of assaulting a policeman. When the policemen found the dog, he had found the assailant, on the ground waiting for the officers. Overall, the K-9 Corps was credited for the arrests of 8 felonious assaults, 13 break-and-enters, 2 attempted robberies, and 5 for carrying concealed weapons. The K-9 Corps had proven themselves and word got out about the unit to other agencies. Calls were coming in from other police departments inquiring about the use and the program used to train the dogs. Inquiries from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada, The FBI, Portsmouth Police, Norfolk Police, Newport News Police, Danville Police, Petersburg Police, Liberty Mo., and even as far away as Beverly Hills California.
Increasing The Canine Unit
With such success of the first year, a request was made by Safety Director Groth in November of 1959, to City Council, that they look into the possibility of hiring additional policemen and eight additional dogs. According to the Richmond News Leader, dated November 2nd, 1959, Safety Director Groth expressed his concerns to City Council about the need for additional police officers to provide better police protection. A 30 page report was submitted to City Council showing the need to increase the police department.
In the proposal it was requested that the Bureau hire on 20 new additional officers and purchase at least three new police cars. As far as the request for the dogs, Chief Garton requested an undisclosed number of k-9. Director Groth showed that from January 1957 to November of 1957, 87 policemen had quit and left for better paying jobs. At that time Richmond Police Officers starting salaries were approximately $3,588. Officers were leaving the city to outside agencies, which were paying almost $500. To $800.00 more a year.
The recommendation was to raise the salary to $5,000, in hopes that it would provide some incentive for a new recruit to remain with the Police Bureau. In April of 1960, City Council, again, was hearing the plea from the Bureau of Police for additional manpower. City Council, even at that time, knew that there was something that needed to be done about the growing problem of crime in the City. City Council even by their own recommendation, requested that a new plan to combat street crime had to be addressed. Most members insisted that they wanted a new program and not merely a defense or explanation of the existing police operations.
Mayor Anderson, one of the big supporters of the dogs, stated that he would be willing to support appropriations to finance a 25-dog squad. Other members of City Council also expressed their desire to increase the Squad as well. At the time the report was submitted, the Police bureau there was approximately 392 officers and the four canines.
In April of 1960, in an attempt to make the streets safer in the City of Richmond, City Council authorized the addition of 30 policemen and nine more dogs which would increase the K-9 Corps to 13. Of the 30 new officers that were hired, the proposal suggested that 16 of the new men should be assigned to the first patrol division on the north side of Richmond, four were to go to the second district on the South Side and nine were sent to the dog squad.
With the approval of nine more police handlers and dogs, another school was started in the summer of 1960. For twelve weeks the new officers and their dogs were put through the rigors of training. To beat the heat during the summer months, the men reported at five o’clock in the morning and trained til the mid part of the day where the heat would finally take it toll on the dogs and the handlers. Emphasis was placed on the obedience, tracking, attacking (bite work) and not attacking. Even during this school the four original handlers were in attendance and used the added training as a refresher course.
On August 6, 1960, the second school graduated into the ranks of the Police K9 Corps. Thirteen new officers and their k9 partners attended a graduation ceremony a Bryan park. The ceremony was attended by over 350 civilians who came hot in the hot day to observe the commencement exercises. The graduation was overseen by many of the Police Bureau’s dignitaries including Safety Director Groth, who handed out the diplomas. Each officer and his k9 performed for the crowd what they had learned during the school. After the demonstration each team approached a platform where Safety Director Groth greeted them and handed out the diplomas.
Safety Director Groth even presented a little something extra to Sgt. F. G. Clark for his efforts in training the new officers. A small bronze statue of a German Shepherd Dog and the men of the class presented him with a new set of golf clubs and bag. A representative of the Richmond Dog Obedience Club was even in attendance and offered a trophy to the k9 team that performed the most outstanding police service for that year.(Original article appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch, dated Sunday August 7, 1960). The Bronze Statue of the GSD is still in the possession of Mrs. F. G. Clark and the story of how her late husband acquired it was related by her. It is still a very proud memento that she displays fondly.
After the increase of manpower to the Bureau, a second class was formed from within the ranks of the Police Bureau. This brought the K-9 Corps strength up to twelve (12) teams and one sergeant, a total of thirteen. The training was still being conducted in the Bryan Park area until an increase in parking facilities required the training area to be moved to the old Pine Camp Hospital Area in the north side of Richmond. Here they constructed an obstacle course required for training the dogs but This too was to be short lived. It wasn’t until May of 1965 that the canine unit finally got what they had wished for. A training area all their own. The 13-man unit had been shuffled around for several years conducting their training and re-training anywhere they could find it. But until Sgt. H. M. Schwartz, who at that time was the commander of the K-9 Corps, requested the use of a bit of unused land located in the Pine Camp area, the City agreed.
A New Location
There was a run-down cinder block building in addition to an old barn and house on the property. The building was once used to facilitate prisoners who used the building to can assorted food item to be consumed by the prisoners. The land became deserted and the buildings were allowed to decline in ruined. The only residence of the property when the k9 officers took over was a small herd of ponies, dogs and chickens. The neglected run-down buildings, tons of garbage and the torn up land was almost too much for the officers too handle. But they soon got down to business and began the task of cleaning up.
In their spare time and on City time, the officers, filled-in a 30 foot well, knocked down a large, rickety barn, carried off years of accumulated garbage and burned off some of the debris. They even employed the help of professional laborers to build, landscape, and weld. They bulldozed an area for the obstacle course and designed the obstacles to be used in the area. To the officer’s specifications, they constructed jumps, walking planks and tunnels. They constructed an obstacle course in a public park (Pine Camp), located in the north side of the City of Richmond. The course consisted of fence jumps, window jumps, bar jumps, hurdles, nine and ten foot scaled (walls), eight-foot ladders and a crawl box (The crawl box was used to teach the dogs to crawl on command under low obstacles). After mastery of the obstacle course and basic obedience work, the dogs began their training in attack work. Major Davis assisted in this phase of the training. The obstacle course consisted of eleven different type of jumps. Every jump was designed to expose the dog to what they may encounter when called upon to search areas where a suspect may be hidden. The following is a break down of those different jumps and what they were designed for.
Obstacle #1 :
“THE CAT WALK”
This jump was used to teach dogs to walk over any board placed between two buildings where the distance is too far to attempt to jump. It also taught the dog to walk across high places. In the center of the jump was an open space about three feet wide and the dogs were taught to jump across this space. The jump was approximately 8 feet high at its highest point.
Obstacle #2 :
“THE “A” JUMP”:
This was a scale type jump. This meant that the dog had to climb the “A” frame type jump and climb down the other side. It was designed to teach the dog to clamber over rooftops. It was approximately six feet high at the highest point.
Obstacle #3 :
“THE TABLE JUMP”:
This jump consisted of two tables approximately 4 feet high and placed end to end. One table was fixed in the ground and the other was movable. The movable table could me placed at different widths from the fixed table. Thus providing a greater distance for the dog to jump.
Obstacle #4 :
This jump was designed from several empty 55 gallon drums. They were welded together and covered with dirt. This type of obstacle introduced the dog to searching any type of pipe culvert that the handler deemed necessary to check.
Obstacle #5 :
“THE HURDLES JUMP”:
This jump consisted of four hurdles approximately four feet high with adjustable bars to increase or decrease the height of the jump. This taught the dog to clear different height of fences.
Obstacle #6 :
“THE RAFTER WALLS”:
This obstacle was used to teach the dog to step from rafter to rafter as what might be seen in the attics of homes, business’s or unfinished buildings.
Obstacle #7 :
“THE PICKET FENCE”
This was designed to expose the dog to different type of fences and to be able clear these fences without any fear. These type of fences may be found in residential neighborhoods.
Obstacle #8 :
This type of fence is used for the same reason that obstacle number #7 was designed.
Obstacle #9 :
This was a large piece of plywood with a round hole cut into it. The round hole was to resemble a window and was positioned approximately 4 feet above the ground. It was designed to teach the dog to jump through open windows or any open section of a building.
Obstacle #10 :
This jump consisted of a 8 foot ladder which went up to a cat walk. The dog was taught to climb the ladder and then make it’s way down a descending catwalk to the ground.
Obstacle #11 :
This was a scale type jump. The dog had to ascend the 12-foot high wall climb over the top and then make it’s way down along two platforms to the ground.
As a result of the Richmond K9 Corps national attention. Numerous articles were written as to its accomplishments and acceptance by the city. Police agencies from all over made it known that they two were interested in the newly formed k9 corps. One such letter was written from a constable from Bedfordshire, England. With their dog program in place they still marveled at the effectiveness of the program the City of Richmond had adopted. Inquires were made from all over as to the training and problem solving issues. The k9 corps did not loose site of the fact that in order to be totally effective they needed to learn more.