TAMPA (FOX 13) - K-9 officers from all over the Bay Area put their skills and instincts to the test during training Tuesday.
We rode along with a duo who patrol the streets of Hillsborough County. Deputy Jimmy Dixon of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and K9 Gus remain calm, even when the siren is blaring and the lights are flashing.
When they stop, Gus springs from the back. He chases down a man and latches his teeth onto the man's arm.
Fortunately, the man is wearing a protective suit and this is a training exercise.
Gus is a young police dog, but he has lots of what handlers call "drive."
"The drive is doing what we tell them to do and catch the bad guy," explained Dixon.
He and Gus are among nearly 100 such teams who turned out at the Heinrich Training Site in east Hillsborough County for a large training workshop. K-9 teams from five counties came to the training.
"They'll see things they've never seen before," said Cpl. Jason Hays of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, which hosted the event.
Police officers and deputies know their lives could depend on their dog's training, so they take it seriously. It's not an easy day.
"They'll have some problems, good things, and bad things. I guarantee you they will take away a lot of knowledge from a day like this," said Hays.
The training ranged from patrol and suspect management to detecting explosives and drugs.
Dogs and handlers depend on one another and train to work together. At the end of the day, their relationship goes on: The dogs live with their handlers.
"He's full of energy, loves to work, and he's good at it," added Dixon.
He knows that both he and Gus will be even better at their jobs after this long day of training.