PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 News) - They play an important role in keeping Utah's streets safe. On Saturday, K9s from across the state competed against each other in the annual K9 trials.
“My dogs at home are a family pet,” said Orem Police K9 handler, Art Lopez.
This is Lopez's 7th year at the Utah Peace Officers Association's K9 trials. He brought his two dogs Earl and Zippy to compete against the best. “All the dogs are assigned to the K9 unit to patrol the streets drug detection, bomb detection,” he said.
The dogs may have a tough job on the streets, but they're treated like kings at home.
“All of our dogs live with us at home we take care of them they are part of our family,” said Lopez. “They have excellent benefits, better than our officers have: full medical, dental, prescription.”
34 teams are competing this weekend at the Provo High School football field in tactical obedience, agility and bite work.
"They have very high drives,” said Provo Police K9 handler Rory Rasmussen. “I refer to it as adopting a two year-old with ADD.”
Rasmussen said even though the dogs are a handful, he loves to show off how hard his dog trains. "I’m working 40 hours a month with my dog just training to prepare him for the actual deployments that we use them out on the streets,” he said.
After the competition, all dogs and their handlers may be even more prepared for what the streets hold next. “We want our dogs to be the best dogs out there on the street,” said Rasmussen. “This gives us an opportunity to see what other agencies do.”
All proceeds from items purchased during the K9 trials will go to benefit Unified Police K9 Officer Angie Martin who has been diagnosed with cancer.