Training in The Virgin Islands

So much for good intentions. One shortcoming of the hotel we were staying in is a lack of in-room high-speed internet access. To get internet access you have to climb down the hill to the lobby and connect there, so after long days of training, that became a less than inviting option. That’s why there were no posts after the first day. Our training schedule ran from 10am – 8pm most nights, so we were a bit tired when we got back.

We sit here now, on Saturday afternoon, in the restaurant bar of the Best Western Emerald Beach Hotel, waiting for 5pm to come in order to check in. We were supposed to be back in NC by today, however, the weather event on the east coast prevented our flying out, as all flights from Miami were cancelled to RDU on friday and saturday, and the best re-booking option ended up being Tuesday morning. So we moved out of the Point Pleasant Resort and came to the Best Western for the last two days of our extended trip.

On this trip we accomplished a lot. The 5 dogs we sold to St. Thomas, with the leadership of Sgt. Gonzales and Trainer Ecedro Lindquist, look great 3 months out from their handler courses. The green handlers have improved their handling, and the dogs have advanced. We were very happy to see that we could spend a majority of our time training with them in scenario-based training exercises. There were very few issues that needed remediation. The 2 new dogs we brought performed well. The black GSD took a few days to aclimatize, but when he did, he looked sharp, civil, and has a hell of a grip.

My new FLIP video camera has taken about 140 videos of our time here, and as we are going to be marooned on this island for a couple more nights, I will be uploading them for all to see.

While here, we rode along with the SRT teams to a few calls, one being a gang-related homicide, another was automatic gunfire, and as we were leaving our very last training session, were able to listen to the radio traffic as one of our dogs, K9 Taiphun & Handler James Dowe, were able to flush a burglery suspect from a perimetered wooded area to patrol officers for arrest and a nice apprehension.

The K9 officers here have to contend with very thick brush, of jungle-like consistency, and a very dense population on an island of only 32 square miles. Outside of the resort areas, there are some really hardcore gangs and really bad guys out there. Their per-capita homocide rate is one of the highest in the US (VI being a US Territory). The police here are dedicated, and the police administration is serious about attacking crime here, and the re-emergence of the K9 unit is one of the steps they are taking to fight crime here.

The K9 training we did incorporated night-time apprehensions, bailouts, multiple subject apprehensions, recall exercises, tactical applications of obedience skills, building searches, area searches, cadaver, explosives and narcotics detection in a variety of venues, and some tracking.  On monday of last week, the sister island of St. Croix sent their 3 handlers over with the three dogs they also got from us, and I wish we had more time to work with them, as they came only for the second week of training.

Jeff and Rob at TK9 did a great job working with these guys, and put out a good product. I got to see for myself the quality work they put in (along with all the others that contributed to the USVI handler course and training and preparation of the dogs, including Kyli, Janet, and Matt). I am proud of all of them for their work and dedication to be the best.

Videos will be posted soon on our photobucket account, and once we are back, on the website.

I hear it is below 20 degrees on most of the east coast…..sorry for your bad luck, we’re at the beach, yo!!