MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - K9 officers and their handlers go into some of the most dangerous situations possible. Thursday, the officers completed training that will help keep them safe.
For the fourth year in a row, DeSoto County Sheriff's Office and Southaven Police Department hosted K9 teams from across the state for some training sessions.
Russ Gordon, a corporal with the Mississippi Highway Patrol, has worked with Buster for five years. The team is used to going into dangerous situations together.
"We're going to be the first ones to catch a bullet," Gordon said.
Buster and Gordon were one of about 30 K9 teams from agencies all over the state to get their K9 re-certification.
For three days, each team is challenged in real life scenarios, like apprehending a suspect, finding drugs, or sniffing out explosives.
"It causes the handler to have to think on his feet like he would in the real world, and it gives the dog a challenge also," Southaven Police Department Captain Richard Chandler said.
To these handlers, their dogs are more than just a partner on the job.
"He means everything. He's just like one my children. When I'm working, I spend more time with this dog than I do my own family," Gordon said.
Gordon and Buster showed the rest of the crowd how it's done. They finished first in an event where Buster found a stash of drugs.
"Feels great, especially since this may be his last year, maybe next to last year to re-certify," Gordon said.
At age 10, Buster is getting close to retirement, so this week meant a lot to this team.
DeSoto County Sheriff's Office and Southaven Police Department said they plan to host the K9 re-certification event for many years to come.