Certification takes place on the last day of the annual conference. Membership (or renewal) and certification is included in the conference fee. Membership is not required for certification, however, non-members will have a certification fee. Standards and certification officials can be viewed below.
If you need certification outside of the conference date, please contact us.
Register or learn more about the PNWK9 2020 Annual Narcotic/Explosive Conference.
Narcotic Dog Certification Rules and Guidelines
Certifying officials will be any member so designated by the Association Board of Directors. The Association board of directors may, upon their review and discretion of an applicant’s qualifications, appoint said applicant as a certifying official.
To qualify as a certifying official one should have:
- A) A minimum of ten years’ experience as a full time law enforcement officer and five years’ experience specifically as a narcotics detection canine trainer.
- B) A full time law enforcement officer who as a Narcotics Detection dog handler has completed a formalized course by a recognized narcotics detection dog trainer and has at least 2 years’ experience handling a narcotics detection dog and completed 200 hours as assistant in training, under the direction of a recognized narcotics detection dog trainer.
- C) Completed an 8 hour Association certifying official’s course.
- D) Supplied to the association board of Directors all relevant documents necessary to satisfy the minimum requirements of being an Association certifying official.
All controlled substances utilized during a certification shall have been tested by a local, state or federal laboratory for authenticity. Only actual narcotics (controlled substances) will be used during the certification process.
Controlled substances utilized will include: Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroin and Methamphetamine.
Training aids from each category will be utilized during certification. Those agencies who wish to not certify on Marijuana detection will be allowed to do so.
Controlled substances used during certification shall be a minimum of 14 grams.
Each single blind search area will have Zero (O) to 2 training aids utilized during certification. These will be placed at the discretion of the certifying official. With one search area being blank. (ie. Blank meaning no training aids present in search area.)
All training aids shall be placed in the training areas no less than thirty minutes prior to canine team inspection.
A verification of odor will be conducted prior to application of the first canine team, by utilizing a K9 that will not be participating in the exercise.
A single blind exercise is described as “ the Certifying Official knows what outcome is expected of the exercise and the K9 handler does not”.
To effectively evaluate the dog detection team the certification process will include the following areas;
- a) Building
Should be of a size that is regularly encountered by canine teams. Individual room size can vary but should not exceed 1200 sq. ft. Three rooms will be utilized.
- b) Vehicles
A minimum of three vehicles shall be used. Vehicle training aids will be hidden on the exterior of the vehicle at the discretion of the certifying official.
- c) Packages and luggage
Six or more pieces will be utilized. The actual physical locations and environment will be at the sole discretion of the certifying official.
- d) Distraction aids
Distraction aids can be utilized during the certification process but will not be placed in close proximity to actual controlled substance training aids.
- e) Exterior searches (optional)
To be determined by the Certifying Official.
Time of Search
Time of search for each area will not exceed 7 minutes.
( i.e. 3 vehicles 7 minutes total time .)
( luggage search 3 minutes total time )
( i.e. 3 rooms, 7 minutes each room )
A double blind exercise is described as “that neither party, Certifying Official nor K9 handler, know what outcome is expected of the exercise.
The utilization of a “Double Blind” exercise during the certification process will ensure the certification process is conducted in a fair, random and impartial manner, with as minimal external influence on the K9 team as is logistically possible.
The double blind search area will be decided by the Certifying Official as identified in the Certifying Officials outline.
It is the responsibility of each handler to have any questions clarified about the certification prior to deployment of the dog on the search exercise.
Any complaints about the certification process or conduct by a certifying official or Association member shall be set in writing and forwarded to the Association board of directors within ten days of the incident.
Certifying officials are not required to explain their evaluation and will not enter into a discussion with any persons disputing an evaluation process.
If certification is requested outside designated Association training, the requesting agency shall pay in advance and be responsible for all necessary incurred travel, meal, lodging or other related expenses for the certifying official.
Each canine detection team who successfully passes certification shall, within 7 days of certification, receive a Letter of Certification from the Association. The association will retain a copy of the Letter of Certification for each dog team.
Any person wishing to certify additional canines will be assessed a twenty five dollar fee per dog team.
All records are the sole property of the Association and are nontransferable unless otherwise specified.
It is the responsibility of each handler to advise the certifying official present as to the type of alert/indication the canine exhibits. (Passive/Aggressive). The handler must verbally state “alert” to the certifying official and identify the location of the alert or the alert/indication will not be acknowledged.
No narcotic scented rewards will be allowed utilized during certification exercises.
All Regular or Associate member in good standing, who otherwise qualifies reference other rules and regulations contained within Association bylaw, shall be deemed qualified to attempt Association certification.
Passing Certification Standards:
In order for a detection team to complete certification the team must successfully complete the search for those substances for which the dog is trained, to include but not limited to; Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroin and Methamphetamine.
The canine team shall locate / indicate on ALL of the hidden controlled substance training aids.
If during the certification a handler calls an “alert” by the canine where there are no training aids hidden this will be considered a “false response” or “nonproductive alert” by the detection team. Any “nonproductive alerts” called by the handler will result in certification failure.
Certification Failure: Any detection team that fails to locate / indicate on one aid during the certification may be tested again the same day; IF in the opinion of the Certifying Official that the miss is entirely handler error and requires no additional training of the Canine.
A detection team which fails to qualify for certification may reschedule another certification at a later date.
All decisions by the certifying officials at the time of certification are final and do not carry an appeal process.
- Every handler will be responsible for any damage inflicted by the detection team canine, to training area, persons or other canines.
- Electric, Prong collars are not permitted.
- Handlers who have completed certification shall refrain from any contact with handlers who are awaiting certification.
- It is the responsibility of the Association certifying official to implement the certification in a fair and impartial manner.
- Only actual controlled substances will be used during Association certification.
- An Association certifying official will explain certification rules to all handlers prior to the certification. A copy of the rules will be given to any handler upon request.
- There will be no training, play or practice with canines in or around any certifying areas.
- All handlers should attempt to have their dogs refrain from urinating in the certifying areas.
- If in the opinion of the certifying official, a handler uses extreme or abusive treatment of a canine, displays loss of temper or poor sportsmanship, the certifying official will immediately disqualify that detection team. There will be no appeal process.
For assistance in arranging a certification in your area please contact us. These officials are not restricted to the areas they are listed and arrangements can be made for them to travel to you or you to them.
Darryl Lobe | Bothell Police Department
Officer Darryl Lobe started his law enforcement career with the Ritzville Police Department and the Adam’s County Sheriff’s Office. In 1998, Officer Lobe lateraled to the Bothell Police Department where he is currently assigned to the Patrol division working a combined position of K-9 / Patrol Officer. In 2001, Officer Lobe’s got teamed up with K-9 Charley. The team worked together until Charley’s retirement in 2011. Charley’s replacement is a spirited Golden Retriever named Karma and the two of them continue to work as a team being utilized not only by Bothell PD but also get called upon by several other cities, state, and federal agencies. Both Charley and Karma were/are single purpose narcotics detection dogs.
Officer Lobe has attended several training courses on Narcotics/Drug Investigations, commercial and passenger vehicle interdiction over the years. He has attended over 12 seminars put on by PNWK9 and has instructed at one held in Bellingham in 2010. During his time working K9, he has instructed and became a mentor to several K9 teams in his area. He also assisted in monthly group training organized by Deputy Bridgman in the Puget Sound area for over 6 years and continues to conduct training. Officer Lobe has been a certifying official for PNWK9 since 2013.
Officer Brad Smith started his law enforcement career in 1999 as a sheriff’s deputy with the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office in Montana. In 2003, Smith went through basic dual-purpose handler school at Crazy Mountain Kennels in Big Timber, MT with K9 Cyrus (German Shepherd). In 2005, Smith lateralled to the Duvall Police Department, WA where he started their K9 Program while still partnered with K9 Cyrus. They began attending and certifying annually through PNWK9 in 2006. K9 Cyrus passed away in 2009. Smith lateralled to the Marysville Police Department, WA in 2009 where he was partnered with narcotic detection K9 Katy (Black Labrador Retriever) in 2011. Smith and K9 Katy spent several years on the PRO-ACT Team before retiring K9 Katy in 2016. Smith was then partnered with dual-purpose K9 Steele (Belgian Malinois) in 2016. Smith imprinted/trained K9 Steele and K9 Copper of the Marysville Police Department in narcotic detection. Smith is currently the department narcotic detection dog trainer and assigned to the K9 Unit. Smith became a certifying official for the Criminal Justice Training Commission and PNWK9 in 2018.
Gunner Fulmer | Walla Walla Police Department
Gunner Fulmer stared at the Walla Walla Police Department in 2008, he was assigned K9 Rev, who stayed in service until January 2015. He then received his second K9 Pick, who has been in service since January 2015. K9 Pick and I are currently assigned to CCAT (Career Criminal Apprehension Team for the Walla Walla Valley. Gunner and K9 Pick have been a member of PNWK9 from July 2009 – Present.
John Eckhart | Eckhart K9
John Eckhart retired from the Portland Police Bureau as Assistant Chief of Police. John is a currently a Certifying Official for the Pacific Northwest Police Canine Association and a Security Representative for the National Basketball Association where he provides detection dog oversight for select NBA events worldwide. Additionally, John is a K-9 Trial Judge for National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) judging detection dog trails across the Pacific Northwest. John currently trains detection dog teams for several police agencies in Oregon and Washington.
John began his police canine career in 1986 as a Police Service Dog Handler in Portland, Oregon. John has worked and trained Patrol Dogs, Cross-Trained Dogs, and Single Purpose Detection Dogs for over 25 years. He started Portland’s Detection Dog Program in 1991 and handled the first Detection Dog for the Portland Police Bureau. John is a two-term past president of the Oregon Police Canine Association (OPCA) where he started the Detection Dog component of that association. John authored the State of Oregon Police Animal Protection Legislation.
Mike Barclay | Elmore County Sheriff’s Office
Mike Barclay currently works for Elmore County Sheriff’s Office in Mountain Home, Idaho. Mike has 25 years of Law Enforcement experience. He has over 17 years of Narcotic’s K-9 Handling experience and applications and has supervised multiple K9 units over the years between his time with the Mountain Home Police Department and the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office.
Mike started his Law Enforcement career in 1986. He served in the US Air Force from 1986 until 1990 as a Security Policeman. Upon an Honorable discharge from the USAF, Mike joined the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office as a Reserve Deputy. In 1994 he was hired by Mountain Home Police as a Patrol Officer. In 1996 he was selected to be the first Officer with Mountain Home Police to obtain a K-9 for the department. Mike was assigned his first Narcotics / Personal Protection K-9. At the time of implementing the K-9 program, Mike was responsible for drafting and writing the department’s K9 policy and procedures. After 2 years of showing the value and demand for a narcotic’s K9, Mike was able to write and apply for a grant to add a second Dual Purpose K-9 to the department. In 2000 Mike was appointed K-9 supervisor to supervise the MHPD K-9 program until he resigned from Mountain Home Police and went to work with Elmore County Sheriff’s Office in 2002 taking his K9 partner with him to the Sheriff’s Office. Shortly after his arrival at the Sheriff’s Office, he accepted the position of Captain of the Detectives with the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office working Narcotics and Major Crimes while still handling a K9. In December of 2012, he was promoted to Chief Deputy where he was able to implement a strong K9 program with 4 Narcotics K9 teams. In December 2016, he stepped down as Chief Deputy and took a Patrol Deputy position. He is currently the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics instructor for Concealment Techniques and Drug recognition and has directed and commanded several multi-agency Interdiction Efforts along the corridor of Interstate I-84 in Elmore County, Idaho.
Mike’s training includes but is not limited to several K-9 schools that were directed at concealments techniques to defeat K-9 applications, K-9 selection, K-9 Handler selection, Supervision and Responsibilities of K-9’s programs, Training Applications of K-9’s and K-9 legal updates just to name a few. He has attended the Idaho K-9 Evaluator/ Training class.
Mike competed in the 2008 World Police Games with his previous K9, Maggie. He has been a certifying official for PNWK9 since 2011. He is a firm believer that training and training hard only makes for exceptional K-9 teams. I believe that K-9s are a true asset to any department.
Gord McGuinness | Metro Vancouver Transit Police
Gord McGuinness is currently a member of the Metro Vancouver Transit Police Service in British Columbia, Canada. This new assignment follows a 34-year career with the Vancouver Police Department. Prior to his retirement from the VPD, Gord spent 18 of 34 years as a canine handler and worked five police service dogs during his time in the VPD Canine Unit.
For more than a decade Gord held the position of Head Trainer in the Canine Unit where he was responsible for implementing the first single purpose, narcotic and explosive detection dog teams in the history of the Vancouver Police Department. His responsibilities also included the acquisition and training of 21 general duty and 4 detection dog teams. Throughout his time in the Canine Unit, Gord worked his own general duty and explosive detection dog.
In addition to his policing career, Gord operates a private consulting business in which he trains patrol, narcotic and explosive detection dogs for the private security industry. He has worked closely with Fred Helfers, over the past 19 years and is a co-founder of the Pacific Northwest Police Detection Dog Association.