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It was a battle of the big guns — both weapons and biceps — in Hoover Saturday.
Swat teams from Hoover, Homewood and Shelby and Chilton counties went head-to-head in a tactical competition that included rope-climbing, rowing while wearing a gas mask — which allows you to breathe at only 50 percent — flipping 400-pound tires and carrying 45-pound ammunition cans all the way to Valleydale Road.
Even with the heat index reaching 105 degrees, the men didn’t slow down.
It was, after all, a competition.
It’s always been said that a dog is man’s best friend, but in the case of K-9 units of the Clarksville Police Department and Clarksville Park Rangers, dogs can also be lifesavers.
The Clarksville Police Department is acquiring two new such lifesavers, and those dogs will be paired with two already-hired officers to bolster the K-9 unit.
“They will basically assist patrol,” said Agent Ray Macias of the CPD. “They’ll respond to armed robberies and other such calls in their district.”
The new hires will help lighten the load of other K-9 officers, who often have to work a 12-hour shift and then be on call if anything else happens when their shift is over.
“They’ll get home from their shift in the morning and we’ll have to call and wake them up to respond to something,” Macias said.
K-9 Officer Joey Scruggs was recently recertified with his new partner, Quantor.
Scruggs had been partnered with another dog, Axel, but is now on his second dog.
“We had to go through a six-week training course to be certified,” Scruggs said.
Quantor is an “active indicator” dog, meaning if he sniffs out drugs, he will scratch the area where he thinks they’re located.
“He’s really good and responsive,” Scruggs said. “He’s high-energy, as you can tell.”
While dogs are just another tool at the CPD’s disposal, Scruggs said K-9s become more than just a tool — they become family.
“I can’t just put him in the garage and come back after the weekend,” Scruggs said, laughing. “Obviously they come home and live with us.”
Ranger Michael W. Runyon-Davis has been on the road with his dog, Shelby, for several months.
He said he’s always been a fan of pets, and Shelby, a calm dog, gets along well with his other pets at home.
“The cat is just now learning to get along with her,” Runyon-Davis said.
Runyon-Davis said he’s needed Shelby’s assistance on several occasions — on more calls than he can count.