Fort McCoy News Dec. 11, 2015

State Patrol K-9 teams train at McCoy's CACTF

Public Affairs Staff

Several K-9 teams with the Wisconsin State Patrol (WSP) trained at Fort McCoy's Combined Arms Collective Training Facility (CACTF) for the first time Dec. 2.

The teams conducted numerous narcotics search-and-recovery scenarios, and the CACTF proved to be the perfect location, said WSP K-9 Unit Supervisor Sgt. Todd Brehm in Milwaukee.

Wisconsin State Patrol Trooper Kevin Schneider and K-9 Ema practice a narcotics-recovery scenario during Dec. 2 training at Fort McCoy's Combined Arms Collective Training Facility.

"We've trained at Fort McCoy before at the (WSP) Academy, but this is the first time we've used the CACTF," Brehm said. "The (CACTF) is a great place to train. We completed scenarios in buildings, vehicles, and open areas."

Exposing the dogs and their handlers is crucial to team success, said Trooper and K-9 Handler Dave McCarthy from the Tomah WSP post.

"Any time we can get into multiple areas like we (see at the CACTF), it exposes the dogs to new environments," McCarthy said. "And, in training like this, it's not only for the dog but the handler as well. It helps the handlers to recognize changes in behaviors in their dogs."

WSP has both narcotic- and explosive-detection dogs, which are stationed throughout all areas of the state, Brehm said. Dog breeds used are Belgian Malinois, German shepherds, and Labrador retrievers. Each breed from every WSP K-9 team participated in this narcotics-detection training.

Brehm also noted how important the K-9 teams are to the State Patrol, especially during traffic stops.

"Narcotics are transferred at one time or another by a vehicle," Brehm said. "Our primary focus, as the State Patrol, is to ensure the safe passage of motorists and to enforce the motor-vehicle laws, and to do that, we do what is called interdiction. Highway criminal interdiction is done on the interstate highways, state highways, and even county highways.

"Some areas (of the state) are more prevalent to narcotics movement than others, particularly in the more-populated areas, so we look at some areas closer than others," Brehm said. "There are certain things we will look for at traffic stops called indicators. If we see those indicators, that will determine whether or not we will deploy a K-9 around the vehicle. It's not just one indicator; it's several indicators, the totality of the circumstances during the traffic stop. That's why this training is so important."

While the K-9 teams trained at Fort McCoy, they stayed at the Wisconsin State Patrol Academy.

"Fort McCoy offers a vast opportunity for different locations to train," Brehm said. "And since the installation also houses our academy for the Wisconsin State Patrol, it's a good location for all of the handlers from throughout the state to meet up."

McCarthy said having accommodations at Fort McCoy also allows for more opportunities for training. "It allows us to get a lot more training completed in a shorter amount of time," he said.

The support buildings in the CACTF complex represent multistory residential, commercial, government, business, and industrial operations, said CACTF Manager Matthew Schwark of Advanced Systems Technology. "Law-enforcement personnel (such as the WSP) are regular customers of the facility," Schwark said.

"The fact that we have a CACTF is a very big deal," said Installation Range Officer Mike Todd with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. "It's a wonderful training facility that helps many units (and law-enforcement personnel) meet training objectives and more."

For more information about the CACTF, call 608-388-1257. For more information about training at Fort McCoy, call 608-388-5038.