FOLEY – The city of Foley is celebrating its police dog teams and K-9 units from across the country that came to the city as part of a national competition.

On Monday, Dec. 4, the Foley City Council recognized the Police Department units that helped organize and take part in the United States Police Canine Association National Field Trials. The competition was held in Foley in September.

Mayor Ralph Hellmich said Foley police units did an outstanding job organizing and taking part in the six-day competition.

“We’re honoring our group of award-winning K-9 officers and, of course, the stars in the show, the dogs,” Hellmich said. “We want to thank them for what they do and how they achieved the K-9 nationals that were held here.”

Three of the Foley police dogs sat with their handlers in the council chambers while the mayor read a proclamation recognizing the teams and the event.

“On Sept. 24 through 29, 2023, over 80 participants from all over the United States came to compete in obedience, hidden suspect recovery, article search and apprehension work,” Hellmich said. “The competition is a chance for all participants to showcase how much work they have put in to meet the high standards set forth by the USPCA.”

Foley Police Sgt. Carlos Lizarraga was one of the organizers of the event. He and his dog partner, Tua, also took first place in overall and hidden suspect recovery, evidence recovery and first in the apprehension exercise and third place overall.

Lizarraga gave the council a check from the USPCA for $20,683, in recognition of the city’s support for the association during the competition.

Other officers who took part in the competition were Cpl Curtis Ricks and his dog, Niko, and Officer Eric Morris and his dog Bo. Also recognized was Officer Mark Whorton helped host the event. 

Lizarraga said the support from the city and community helped make the event a success.

“There’re many hands in it and there’s a lot of preparation to do these events. It’s about a year long to prepare for this,” Lizarraga said. “This was a lot of us getting donations to put this on, building equipment to put it on. It entails a lot. So I thank everyone that was involved, command staff for letting us do this, the city as well. Everyone who came to this event loved it, loved our area.”