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North Carolina Police Dog Association

  1. Objectives
  2. Types OF Certification
  3. Failure to Meet Standards
  4. Certification Sites
  5. Certification Evaluators
  6. Records of Certification
  7. Certification FEES
  8. General Certification Roles and Requirements

I. Narcotics Detection Certification
  1. Vehicles Searches
  2. Building Searches
  3. Parcel Searches

II. Explosive Detection Certification
  1. Vehicle Searches
  2. Building Searches
  3. Parcel Searches

III. Tracking/Trailing Certification

IV. Patrol Utilization Certification
  1. Control/obedience
  2. Evidence Search
  3. Area Search
  4. Building Search
  5. Vehicle Stops
  6. Criminal Apprehension

1. Objectives
A. To ensure that police dog teams in the state of North Carolina are properly trained in order to protect the lives and property of the citizens of the state.

B. To provide a standard in which all trained police dogs must maintain in the performance of their duties.

C. To ensure that the handlers in the state have adequate knowledge of the laws regarding the use of canines.

D. To prevent malicious use of partially and untrained police dogs within law enforcement agencies in the state.

E. To provide re-certification on a timely basis in order to maintain the integrity and credibility of police dog teams.

2. Types of Certifications

All police dogs must be certified in the specific areas in which they are trained. The following certifications will be given and maintained by the NCPDA:


These certifications of the police dogs are on a PASS/FAIL basis. No points will be awarded and competition/awards will be prohibited. The certification will be based on the ability to perform the tasks set forth by the procedures adopted by the NCPDA. All certifications shall be conducted by the canine and his current handler. The certification shall be valid for one year, and re-certification will be given on a timely basis.

3. Failure to Meet Standards

Police dog teams that fail to meet the standards of certification shall be given the opportunity to re-test in the area of standards it did not achieve. The re-test will be given at the end of that certification period if time permits, or within 30 days from the date of failure. Failure to achieve the standards on the re-test shall result in a recommendation by the NCPDA to remove the team from actual deployment of that particular utilization until certification can be obtained.

4. Certification Sites

The certification sites will be conducted in different areas of the state. The host agency must be responsible for providing the necessary areas equipment and personnel, in which the certification will take place. The host will also be responsible for financial obligations that must be met due to the certifications.

5. Certification Evaluators

Each certification must have 2 evaluators. The evaluators will be approved by the executive board. They will be determined by experience, knowledge and background. Evaluators will submit a resume to be kept on file for reference in the future. The evaluators may not participate in a certification of a police dog that he or she originally trained. The evaluators will critique the handler verbally following each exercise, and will forward their written results and recommendations to the governing body of the NCPDA. There will be an alternate evaluator available at each certification. Out-of-state evaluators are acceptable with board and membership approval.

6. Records and Certification

The NCPDA secretary will be responsible for maintaining records of the certification for each police dog team that participates.

7. Certification Fees

A thirty dollar ($30.00) fee for each team will be required for each certification attempted. There will be no additional fee required for re-testing during the same certification period.

8. General Certification Rules and Requirements

A. All dog teams must submit previous training records to the NCPDA prior to their certification.

B. Electronic devices, spiked collars, whistles, balls, or any other item viewed as an influence or used to control the dog, may not be utilized during any phase of the certification.

C. Any dog team wishing to be re-tested must submit in writing to the NCPDA their re-certification requirements and scheduling. This must be done prior to the lapse of the 30-day re-certification period.

D. PASS/FAIL decision by the evaluators are final. Any appeals will be submitted in writing as soon as possible to the NCPDA board for review and consideration for re-testing.

  1. There will be a total of 3 types of searches conducted:
    A. Vehicle Search
    B. Building or residential search
    C. Parcel search (may include luggage, envelopes, boxes, etc.)
  2. The searches will include the following narcotics:
    A. Marijuana/hashesh (THC)
    B. Cocaine or crack/cocaine
    C. Heroin NOTE: Any team wishing to certify in any other narcotic must notify the hosting agency in writing ten days prior to certification.
  3. All narcotics will be tested for quality prior to certification.

  4. Pseudo-Narcotics will not be used in the certification.

  5. All of the test hides will be at least 5 grams in weight, not to exceed 10 grams.

  6. The narcotics will be hidden in practical areas and allowed to age for thirty (30) minutes prior to the first team’s test.

  7. During the test, only the handler and the two evaluators will be allowed in the search area.

  8. In each of the searches, enticement articles such as food, soiled clothing, empty plastic bags, balls, etc. may be used to thoroughly test the DCG’s ability.

  9. The dog must make the alert obvious to the evaluators, and as close to the hide as possible.

  10. There will be a total of nine possible indications of narcotics during this test. The dog must be able to locate a minimum of six hides in order to achieve certification, or two out of three tested.

  11. One false indication during the certification will be evaluated as a failure to locate. Two false indication will result in the failure of the entire narcotics certification.

  12. Dog teams will be given certification for the type of narcotics located, provided requirement #11 does not apply.

  13. Each dog team will have separate sets of vehicles, rooms, and parcels for the narcotics detection certification.

  1. Vehicles

    A. There will be a total of six vehicles used. These may be of various sizes and models.

    B. There will be three test hides concealed in the vehicles, one for each of the narcotics.

    C. There will be two enticement articles hidden during the test.

    D. One vehicle will remain clean of any article or narcotic.

    E. There will be a 15 minute time limit to search all six vehicles.

    F. There will be only one hide or enticement per vehicle. There will be one outside hide and two inside hides.

  2. Buildings

    A. The building search shall consist of a minimum of two rooms, with a maximum of 1,000 square feet total area.

    B. There will be three test hides concealed, one for each of the narcotics.

    C. Two of the enticement articles will be hidden.

    D. The narcotics may be hidden at any height with a maximum of six feet high.

    E. There will be a fifteen (15) minute time limit to search the two rooms.

  3. Parcels

    A. Shall consist of three columns of six packages each. Each package will be a minimum of three (3) feet apart.

    B. There will be one test hide in each column of parcels.

    C. Two enticement articles will be hidden in each column.

    D. There will be a ten (10) minute time limit to search the three columns.

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