“You have the right to remain silent,” but you may not be able to, if you are planning to attend this year’s Connecticut Police K-9 Olympics.
The Connecticut State Police, police departments from across the state, and Department of Corrections Officers and their K-9 partners will compete during this day-long event that takes place each year at UConn’s Depot Campus in Storrs/Mansfield.
The grounds are located on Route 44 across from the Bergin Correctional Facility.
This year marks the 19th-annual competition. It all begins at 8 a.m., rain or shine, on Saturday, July 17. Events usually end with an awards ceremony in the mid-afternoon. Admission is free.
The event usually draws more than 1,000 spectators over the course of the day. There is plenty of parking at the site.
Officer Paul Osella and his K-9 partner, “Benny” (who is now 10-years-old), will compete and represent the UConn Police Department.
“Benny” will be retiring at the end of the year, and has been on the job for eight and a half years. Officer Osella, who has been with UConn Police Department for thirteen and a half years, is also the primary coordinator of this entire event.
All monies raised through sales of T-shirts, food and other dog-related items (as well as a raffle) will be donated to several charities, including the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, Fidelco Guide Dogs, the CHIPS program (a child ID program), and the Scott Roberson Memorial Fund (for his daughter, Piper).
Officer Roberson was killed under hostile fire on Dec. 30, 2009 while serving his country as a CIA Officer in Afghanistan. Roberson, who grew up in Tolland, did not live to see the birth of his daughter and first child, who was born in February 2010.
What happens at the K-9 Olympics?
The dogs and their handlers will be evaluated during a competition that takes place in an arena-style setting.
The teams will be judged in several different categories, including obedience, obstacles, criminal apprehension (a bite drill), evidence recovery and marksmanship. Approximately 30 teams are expected to compete this year.
Visitors to the event also will be able to inspect the Trooper 1 Helicopter, meet The Department of Corrections CERT (Corrections Emergency Response Team), K-9 CrimeStoppers, narcotic & bomb-detection dogs, and browse a variety of other police and dog-related services.
There will be an extensive display of police resources such as the Mobile Command unit, motorcycles, bicycles and ATVs.
The Shriner clowns will entertain children with balloons and shows, and other members will assist with the CHIPS program (Childhood Identification Program).
The CHIPS program, a charitable initiative sponsored by Masonic lodges to aid in the identification and recovery of lost children, provides a kit for parents to have on hand in case their child is missing.
The free kit includes:
- a brief video interview of the child, given to the parent on a CD, which can be distributed to the media,
- the child’s fingerprints and a bite impression. Teeth, like fingerprints, are unique. A dental imprint gives accurate and important information for identification purposes, and
- a DNA sample which is collected by gently rubbing the inside of the child’s cheek.
So don’t miss the opportunity to see these exceptional K-9 officers and their handlers in action.
For directions or more information and photos from previous K-9 Olympics, vist the Web site at http://www.police.uconn.edu/K9/photos/flickr_slideshow.html
Posted July 16, 2010
“Four-legged officers and their partners are put to the test,” includes video clips, posted July 25, 2009 in Mansfield Today