Foley Sports Tourism is going to the dogs and they couldn’t be more excited. The city will be one of the safest places in the nation September 24 – 29 as more than 100 police K9s and their handlers from around the country will come to compete in the 2023 United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) PD1 K9 Nationals.
Competition Director, Foley Police Department Sgt. Carlos Lizarraga, said participants will be competing in obedience, hidden suspect recovery, article search, and apprehension work at the FST Fields. There will also be an evidence recovery portion taking place at Graham Creek Nature Preserve.
Lizarraga said three of Foley’s own K9s and handlers are USPCA members and will be taking part in the event, including himself and his K9, Tua. He said the competition is a chance for all the participants to showcase how much work they’ve put in to meet the high standards set forth by the USPCA.
“Handlers and their K9 partners are held to extremely high training standards during their patrol duties and while training to meet USPCA standards. The amount of work and dedication it takes to qualify for USPCA nationals is breathtaking,” Lizarraga said. “USPCA is a vital organization for its members because it helps promote highly-trained and certified canine teams. Police, as a whole, regard their fellow brothers and sisters in blue as a family. When you link the passion for policing with the passion for working a K9, the end result is a highly dedicated individual who openly accepts the extra responsibility that working a K9 brings. Every handler wants to see each other succeed on and off the competition field.”
City of Foley Leisure Services Executive Director David Thompson said having the competition in town brings together two of the city’s departments and gives them a chance to work together in a new and unique way.
“The Foley Police Department has assisted Foley Sports Tourism during so many events, keeping all of our visitors and athletes safe for the duration of their stay,” Thompson said. “This time those officers, who usually work quietly behind the scenes, get to take center stage. We are extremely proud of our police force and the work they do every day to keep up with rigorous standards aimed at protecting our city. Now is our chance to cheer them on in a way we don’t often get the opportunity to do. We encourage the public to come out to this one, show their support, and help give the FPD a true home-field advantage.”
All events are free and open to spectators but those attending should keep an eye out for driving and parking restrictions in place specifically for this competition. A public demonstration featuring examples of all the areas of competition will take place on September 28, at 5:30 p.m. at the Foley Sports Tourism Championship Stadium. For more information on the 2023 USPCA PD1 K9 Nationals contact Stephanie Donald.