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Manteca Police conduct 39th annual K9 trials
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Nearly 20 years in the Manteca Police canine unit brought patrolman Grant Flory a wall plaque that showed all the dogs he has had over the years. The Class A trophy was won Saturday for being tops in the retired completion with his dog “Spike.” Had they competed in the open class, it would have been a second place for them. - photo by GLENN KAHL
Manteca Police Department’s 39th annual canine trials drew nearly 20 departments and 40 canines from northern and central California to Morenzone Field Saturday morning for obedience, agility and protection competition.

Friday night narcotics dogs entered a separate competition to judge how best they could sniff out the different drugs on the street today.

Three Manteca canine officers entered their dogs in competition with departments from Citrus Heights to Benicia and Madera.  

Grant Flory who has served in the Manteca canine unit until recently entered his partner “Spike” in the retired competition.  Flory also put on an exhibition with his giant Schnauzer “Iro” who he is training for both protection and for narcotics detection.

Manteca’s Dale Goforth competed with his canine Gage and Randy Chiek put “Blade” through his paces.  San Joaquin County Sheriff’s canine officer Terry Schaeffer put his dog “Spike” up against all comers – “Spike” did very well.  It was “Spike” who captured the auto theft suspect hiding inside a hollowed-out box spring earlier this week on Cherry Lane.

The Manteca Police Department currently has four working dogs and a fifth that is being certified.  Sgt. Lewis Clark, who heads up the unit, said officers are looking for one more canine to fill a vacancy.

He added that he hopes to fill two vacant positions for narcotics sniffing canines within the next two to three weeks.  Up until now officers had to call for mutual aid when they had a drug search – often from Ripon when their dog was available.

Manteca officers voiced their appreciation to Manteca Trailer and Camper for continuing to supply an RV with a power plant that is used every year to set up an office at the site of the competition.  Officers added that Manteca Trailer also provides a second motor home for snack bar use.

The trailer and camper firm on Highway 120 east of Highway 99 also parked a Jumping Jack camping trailer at the park Saturday –  it’s a $6,000 prize and the raffle tickets are free for the asking.  The drawing won’t be for a couple weeks yet.  Tickets are still available at their display room.

Another Manteca business that has sponsored the dog trials is Aunty’s Dog Grooming located on West Yosemite Avenue at McKinley providing monetary support for the event.  Countless volunteers from inside and outside the police department make the trials possible.

Manteca canine officer of the last 19 years, Grant Flory,  was presented with a wall piece centered with a color photograph of his recently retired canine, “Spike.”   He and “Spike” took first place Saturday in the retired category – which would have equated to second place had they been able to compete in the open division.

The number one team in the two-day competition was Chico Police Department’s Brett Smith and Robert Hartman.  Search honors went to Officer Steve Thomson of Sacramento Police Department.  Brett Smith of Chico PD and his canine partner finished first in the obedience category.

Jake Heinemeyer of the Benicia Police Department took the first place in the agility category.

First place in the protection phase went to Officer Felix Roman, of the Modesto Police Department’s canine unit; overall to Lori Alva, Madera PD, and novice winner was Steve Thomson, of the Sacramento Police Department.