Military, civilian K-9 teams build partnerships

By Airman 1st Class Zachary Martyn | Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs | Nov. 27, 2018


The exchange of information and practices between military and civilian law enforcement agencies isn’t something uniquely human. 


Working dog handlers from Trenton and Ewing Township Police Departments brought their furry companions to Joint Base MDL for some hands-on working dog training with 87th Security Forces Squadron Airmen in the aircraft on the flightline. The agencies exchanged their dog training techniques and other tactics between dogs and across organizations.


The first stage of training was to expose the civilian dogs to the C-17 Globemaster III, the U.S. Air Force’s premier cargo transporter. The flightline and aircraft were entirely new to the dogs. The K-9s were walked through the aircraft and given some time to familiarize themselves with its layout and the nuances of its design.


“Our time here exposes the dogs to many different environments - planes, helicopters and lots of different scenarios that are beneficial to the dogs,” said Nick Lampson, Ewing Township Police Department police dog trainer. “We never know when we may be called upon to assist the military.”


Following the introduction to the aircraft, the dogs were tasked with patrol work. Volunteers suited up in the bite suit and either ran from the police or feigned an attack. The K-9s were evaluated on their ability to neutralize the threat and prevent the pseudo-suspect from escaping in an unfamiliar environment.


“This is a unique opportunity because their dogs have never worked on an aircraft,” said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Wiggin, 87th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler. “We get to share a lot of information while training and the partnership is invaluable.”


Afterward, the military and civilian police came together to practice narcotics training with the animals. Dogs trained in narcotics detection were tasked with locating narcotics on the aircraft, so it was important they knew the layout.


The relationship between the 87th SFS and both Trenton and Ewing Township Police Departments started recently. Those involved in the training said they are excited to take on this newfound training benefit and ensure the flow of information, training and tactics between organizations is used to the best of abilities.


“Our goal is to bridge that gap between agencies,” said Wiggin. “[We have the opportunity] to really experience what the local agencies do. We train dogs in one manner and they train dogs in a completely different manner. We can both learn from each other.”


The partnership between JB MDL law enforcement and police is a mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and practices. Members of both parties agree they have a lot to learn from one another, and look forward to working together again in the future.