Sheriffs Open Indiana’s First In-State Training, Certification Academy for Law Enforcement K-9s

Kennels, classrooms and tactical search facilities to be housed at new Indiana Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch, open to all Indiana agencies

Indiana’s 92 sheriffs are joining ranks this year and opening the first in-state academy dedicated exclusively to training and certifying law enforcement canines.

Part of expanded training offered by the Indiana Sheriffs’ Association, the new Indiana Sheriffs’ K-9 Academy will feature kennels, classrooms and tactical search facilities. Handlers and dogs from all county, city and state agencies will be welcome to enroll.

“Canines have extraordinary talents in sight, smell, agility and diligence that can be invaluable policing tools in making our communities safer,” said Steve Luce, ISA executive director. “A well-trained K-9 unit can help find lost children and others who have wandered from caregivers. They can detect drugs and explosives. What’s more, canines and handlers can speed searches of parcels, vehicles and buildings when every moment counts for citizen safety.”

Luce said the K-9 academy will be housed at the new Indiana Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch, a privately funded project under construction to provide free summer camps to future deputies, troopers and police officers, as well as at-risk youth and young witnesses and victims of crime.

“Part of the K-9 facility already existed as a veterinary clinic on the recently purchased Indiana Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch property, located near Brazil, Ind., between Indianapolis and Terre Haute,” Luce said. “The existing vet office was remodeled to accommodate classroom training and team teaching. A new structure was added for simulations and evaluations of building and vehicle searches.

Luce said wooded areas on the 62-acre Youth Ranch will be utilized for search-and-rescue instruction.

Until now, Indiana was one of just 11 states without an in-state training and certification facility for law enforcement canines, Luce said. “Now, based on best practices of all other states, Indiana’s police service dogs will be able to receive in-state patrol certifications on obedience, tracking, searches and control as well as detection certifications on narcotics, explosives and currency.”

Indiana taxpayers should benefit from the K-9 Academy’s lower training fees and eventually less expensive police service dogs, Luce said. Local law enforcement agencies will benefit from less out-of-state travel and time away from those we serve and protect, he added.