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New Oxford officers seek NNDDA training in Vicksburg


The Oxford Police Department plans to send two new officers to attend an annual narcotic-detector dog training course April 30 through May 4 in Vicksburg. 

While the K-9 program, which started in the 1990s, is not new, Oxford Police Chief Mike Martin said the officers that will attend the training course are new K-9 handlers.

The five-day training course, held by the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association, will cost $1,950. NNDDA President Robin Fields said the week will consist of narcotic classes, information sessions about trends and case laws, and training for the officers to learn how to get the dogs to search vehicles, houses and other areas of interest.

“When I am hiring a handler, I look for high-drive officers that like to deal with dope,” Oxford officer and K-9 coordinator Tim Sockwell said. “This officer is going to look past the routine traffic stops. They’ve got to really have a good personality to match the dog. They have to be patient, hard workers and willing to do it my way.”

The National Narcotic Dog Detector Association is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1978. 

It is responsible for assisting in the training and proficiency of law enforcement and other government detector dogs. 

Oxford is sending two or three of its narcotic-detector dogs to the NNDDA training conference, along with their handlers. All dogs from the OPD attending the conference have been previously trained by Sockwell.

“They provide a service that no officer can,” Sockwell said. 

“They find what we need with their nose.”

Sockwell said even though big-time narcotics aren’t common in Oxford, OPD sends a few handlers to the conference because it does not happen every year.

“Our hope for the conference by the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association is to make them better educated and informed,” Fields said. “We also want to enable them to do their job better as a police officer.”