Orange Police Officer Chris Brown and his K-9 Partner Loki competed in the 27th Connecticut K9 Olympics in Enfield on July 28, in the oppressive heat and humidity, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The event consisted of a competition in a “round robin”* setting. Areas of competition were obedience, obstacles, and an apprehension drill, building search with simulated “shots” fired, and a K-9 alert search.
After the “games,” awards were given out to the top teams in each of the following categories:
Top Overall 1st, 2nd and 3rd
Most Experienced Handler
Most Experienced K-9
Officer Brown and Loki have been partners for 4 years, and as the story goes, Brown knew Loki was a very special dog from the moment he first laid eyes on him.
(photo by Kim Carino Photography)
“His drive was high and he went the extra mile to get (the ball),” Brown said in our first interview after 14-month-old Loki graduated from the Police K9 Academy. “I chose him without hesitation, I know he’ll have the longevity to do the work for 6-7 years.”
This was the Orange team’s third consecutive year of competition. In 2016 the duo brought home the obedience award, last year they came home empty-handed, but they made up for it this year by earning the top prize, a plaque as the first place K9 Olympic Champions. The Department of Corrections came in second.
I spoke to Officer Brown on July 31, just days after their victory. Loki seemed unfazed and was happy as long as he had his ball. But his partner, although modest and humbled, was very proud of his dog’s performance and happy to talk about it. He said they competed against 35 excellent K9 teams from various local police agencies along with Connecticut State Police, State of Connecticut Department of Corrections and even teams from Massachusetts.
He said teams were graded for obedience, obstacles and criminal apprehension. The competition is extensive with three different categories of obedience, about 12 obstacles and then the criminal apprehension drills.
After last year, Officer Brown knew he and Loki had some work to do. on their downtime, the pair practiced their skills on the department’s obstacle course that Police Commissioner Mark Grasso’s nephew built as an Eagle Project back in October 2016.
“You never know what you’re going up against,” he said, We practice every day, the department lets me train in all the aspects that we’re certified in. I know what I have to do up there, so I focus our training on these things. You have to train to stay good.”
“Loki did very well in everything, but his obedience was the best,” Brown said. Still, he said, even though other officers were telling him that they thought he and Loki were on top, he was shocked when his name was called during the awards presentation. “This is great. I’m very proud of him, but there’s always room for improvement and we’ll keep training for next year.”
He added that the Olympics is a great family event and that a lot of the teams are his friends with whom he trains. “K9 Teams stick together, so it’s cool to have that bond.”
He also was surprised at how many Orange and local residents attended the event to support him and his partner.
Money raised through the sales of shirts and food, and from donations, is returned to local charities. This year money raised goes to the Hometown Foundation (SPECIAL OLYMPICS), “CHIPS” Program, Shriners Children’s Burn Centers and other ‘police related’ charities.
On a side note, the Emergency Animal Response Service (EARS) Ambulance crew was on hand providing both Veterinary Medical standby and information about its K9 Critical Care Program for those attending.
You can see Loki and Officer Brown at this weekend’s Milford Oyster Festival K9 demonstration and, of course, at the Orange Country Fair in September.
Competition photos by Kim Carino Photography