A Good 'Sit' Is Worth A Lot

“You train, train, train, train, 10 hour days of training every other Monday, 20 hours a month,” says Officer Damien Austin of the Herndon Police department. His partner is Smokey, a bi-colored German shepherd. They have been on the street since January 2009. Austin says he became a police officer so that he could work with a police dog. Austin and Smokey trained with the Fairfax County Police Canine Unit, and regularly train with Fairfax County K9 teams.

“The calls we go on are usually the worst of the worst – you have to have courage. We go into dark places, we have to trust the dog,“ says Herndon Police Officer Damien Austin. Training builds trust, reinforces skills, refines technique, and gives the handler the opportunity to work on any issues that might have developed in the past several shifts.