FOLEY – Police K-9 units from across the United States took part in national competition in Foley during the week of Sept. 26 through 29 with local teams winning several top awards.

More than 100 police dogs and their handlers took part in the 2023 United States Police Canine Association PD1 K9 Nationals. Competition sites in Foley includes the Foley Sports Tourism fields and stadium and the Graham Creek Nature Preserve.

Foley Police Sgt. Carlos Lizarraga took first place awards for apprehension work and suspect search and third-place overall. He was also part of a four-man region team that received a first-place award. Lizarraga also won the Captain Tom Larsen award for the highest combined article and suspect search

Foley Police Chief Thurston Bullock said local residents welcomed the human and canine police visitors.

“Our citizens love y’all,” Bullock said. “They love the Police Department and y’all got to interact with a lot of them as you were out in town and saw what they did for you in reference to the thanks and meals and such. Some people bought meals as a way of thanking you. We get that kind of thing every day. The citizens support us and we appreciate that.”

Bullock said all police work requires dedication and professionalism, but K-9 officers take on additional responsibilities.

“As if law enforcement wasn’t tough enough, you’ve taken on the extra duty of that K-9 and that’s important to have that,” Bullock said. “Thank you for carrying on that profession and thank you for doing what you do and being the professionals that you are and you truly are unique. Not only are you unique because you’re here and out of all the K-9 officers out there in the nation, y’all are the ones who got invited here, because y’all are unique. You are the best of the best and I thank y’all for that and thank you for the professionalism you show and for carrying on the K-9 profession.”