OVPD Hopkins and Hardy K-9 team receive national certifications

Coastal Point • File Photo: PFC Justin Hopkins and K-9 Hardy during a training exercise last year.Coastal Point • File Photo: PFC Justin Hopkins and K-9 Hardy during a training exercise last year.Earlier this year, municipal K-9 teams throughout the state received national certification in explosive and narcotic scent detection by the National Police Canine Association (NPCA), including the Ocean View Police Department’s PFC Justin Hopkins and K-9 Hardy.

Nine other municipal K-9 teams, from Newark, Lewes, Bridgeville, Smyrna, Harrington and Dover, also received the certification, and 14 Delaware State Police (DSP) K-9 teams completed the patrol and narcotics certifications. Additionally, 12 Delaware State Police K-9 teams and four municipal K-9 teams from the Capitol Police Department and Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control completed the patrol and explosive certifications.

“A dog cannot be an explosive and drug dog. It’s one or the other, because when they hit on something, they can’t tell you, ‘I smell a bomb,’ or ‘I smell marijuana,’” explained OVPD Cpl. Rhys Bradshaw.

The Delaware State Police K-9 teams, along with the New Castle County Police Department and the Wilmington Police Department K-9 teams, train law enforcement K-9 teams in the state under one certification standard for both explosive and narcotic scent detection. Certification scenarios for patrol included K-9 obedience, tracking, building searches, vehicle searches and wooded area searches.

“It was a lot of training,” said Bradshaw.

Hardy, who has been with OVPD for more than a year now, has become an asset not only to the department but to those in surrounding towns as well.

“It’s great. He’s already helped us locate narcotics on traffic stops. He’s used by other agencies in the area when they might need a drug dog or patrol dog,” said Bradshaw. “He’s assisted the Sussex County DEA Task Force on drug raids in houses. They’ll bring him in and have him sweep the houses. It’s a great tool to have in your inventory.”

The State’s Special Law Enforcement Assistance Fund (SLEAF) is funded through such drug busts, and the fund, in turn, financially supports law enforcement agencies throughout the state.

Bradshaw said the OVPD is proud of Hopkins and Hardy for continuing their education and constantly improving.

“We’re very proud of Justin and Hardy for the hard work and extra time they put in to get these certifications, and bettering themselves as officers to help protect the citizens of Ocean View.”