Date: April 5, 2002 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact:

Aaron Flint, (863) 534-6377 or 502-8262 pager

PCSO K-9 Deputy Wins First Place In Regional Competition

Polk County Sheriff's Office Deputy Herb Bennett and his K-9 “Cezar” set a new record by scoring 695 points out of a possible 700 points on their way to earning first place at the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) Region One K-9 Field Trials held this week in Sarasota. 

A total of 66 competitors from Florida and Georgia participated in the competition held April 2-4, 2002.  During the competition, handlers and their K-9 partners were tested in the areas of obedience, agility, attack work (with and without gunfire), and search work. 

A total of four Polk County Sheriff's Office handlers participated in the competition:

Deputy Herb Bennett with K-9 “Cezar,” placed  1st (Region 1 record)
Deputy Matt Williams with  K-9 “Rocky,” placed 15th
Deputy Tonya Bussiere with K-9 “Maros,” attained national certification
Deputy Christopher Hillsgrove with K-9 “Berry,” attained national certification

All four PCSO handlers qualified for the USPCA National Championships, which will be held in Plant City in October of this year.  

Deputy Bennett and “Cezar” will be recognized for their outstanding achievement at an awards ceremony that is being held tonight at the Hyatt in Sarasota.  The overall team champion will be announced during the banquet.  The Sheriff's Office has a good chance to win the overall team championship, but will have to wait for the results to be announced. 

K-9 Units are trained to assist patrol deputies with searching buildings for hidden suspects, tracking/apprehending fleeing assailants, conducting building searches, searching for lost or missing persons, evidence recovery, narcotic detection, explosive detection, tactical deployments, crowd control  and interdiction of illegal narcotics trafficking.

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Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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