Sewell-Thomas Baseball Stadium at UA becomes training ground for K-9s

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 2:23 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2022 at 9:30 AM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala, (WBRC) - The next time you attend an Alabama Crimson Tide football game there’s a good chance you may see a K-9, prowling and sniffing for anything that shouldn’t be around.

The dogs, along with their handlers, spent much of Thursday training at Sewell-Thomas Baseball Stadium, just mere yards from Bryant-Denny.

More than a dozen K-9s were doing all they could to keep their skills sharp by following their noses.

“It’s real special. Certainly the most sophisticated and sensitive platform the world has ever seen,” said Kevin Good, an engineer with the National Security Business Unit BATTELLE, a business that works with Homeland Security.

It wasn’t just the animals getting a good workout, so did the handlers.

There were three primary exercises. There was an operational search in the press box and later an odor test.

Metz Davis says it’s an honor to be a handler.

“He serves in a lot of capacity. He is a pet but is also a working dog and he’s part of my family,” said Davis.

Far beyond center field in the parking lot, graders prepare the handler for what they’re looking for and what the scenario was. This day’s practice was a bomb search using several vehicles.

Sgt. John Turner of the University of Alabama Police Department said, “It’s a lot of tactic how we search to make our searches safer.”

The K-9s did well and you may be surprised they weren’t awarded with treats but with a toy, a non-flavored toy.

Back to Metz Davis his veteran k-9 does not have a claim to fame yet, a very good thing if you think about it, according to Davis.

“And I hope he has never has a claim to fame. I mean, I’m just being honest. I hope he never finds anything because I hope there’s nothing there to find,” Davis said.

Thursday wrapped three days’ worth of training for the dogs and their handlers. But the practice makes perfect adage never stops. Another round of sniffing is just around the corner.

“You have to keep teaching,” said Davis.

The K-9s and their handlers came from places such as Birmingham, Huntsville and Oxford, Mississippi.

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