K9s show new skills at Pinellas graduation ceremony

- Three Pinellas County K9 deputies will be hitting the streets on all fours with their partners after completing five months of training on how to sniff out crime.

These top dogs showed their skills at the K9 graduation ceremony Tuesday.

 “The reason I got into law enforcement is because I wanted to be a K9 officer,” Deputy Kayla Juliet, who handles K9 Jace, said. “It's always been my dream to be in K9.

Three K9s – Jace, Cairo, and Ronin - and their handlers have completed five months of training and will soon be called for duty.

“K9 is what I've always wanted to do since I was 4-years-old,” K9 Cairo’s handler, Dominic Brissett said. “Basically what we're showing is that Cairo is controllable and that he can maintain a down when in the cart being pushed, no matter what's going on.”

K9 Ronin’s handler, Justin Fineberg echoed what other K9 handlers said – this career was a lifelong dream.

“It's always something that I've wanted to do. I love dogs, and being in K9 you get to do everything that's the best,” Fineberg said. “There are times when you are put into danger, and his life depends on me and mine depends on him, so teaching him like that, if we're ever in a situation like a firefight, I know he's going to listen to me, that he's going to come to me. He's going to be able to be protected, and if he needs to go get the bad guy, he has to fear and is going to do what he has to do.”

The K9s and their partners trained from November 28, 2016, to April 13, 2017, at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office K9 Compound in Pinellas Park.

The K9s learned obedience commands, bite work, search work, tracking and human odor response.

After getting some on the job experience some of these new K9 deputies will go on to get specific training for drugs and explosives.

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