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Send in the hounds

Woodbury police dog Levi demonstrates an apprehension technique earlier this year. Mike Longaecker photo

Woodbury residents will get an up-close look this month at some of the Midwest's most highly trained dogs in action.

From June 12 to June 14, the city will play host to the Region 18 trials of the United State Police Canine Association. During the event, up to 100 K-9 teams representing Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa will converge on Woodbury, where they will be tested for certification and compete in a series of events.

Woodbury K-9 officer Jeff Gottstein, who helped organize the event, said attendees will have a chance to see police dogs showcasing their unique talents.

"They're going to see how invaluable police dogs are to keep communities safe and officers safe," he said.

Gottstein and his K-9 partner Levi will be participating in the event, along with fellow Woodbury officer Jason Posel and his dog, Niko.

Events will take place at various Woodbury locations, including East Ridge High School, Shawnee Park and Woodbury High School.

All events are open to the public, including a demonstration at 6 p.m. Sunday, June 12, at East Ridge.

Gottstein said the demo should be a treat for all attendees, but especially for dog owners familiar with basic instruction techniques. They'll appreciate right away how advanced these dogs are from the "sit-stay-heel" routine, he said.

Dogs will demonstrate skills in obedience, article searching, suspect searching, agility and bite-work.

"They can see how smart these police K-9s are and how committed they are," Gottstein said.

He added: "The kids will love everything they see here."

Dogs at the event also will be competing to qualify for national trials set for September in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Gottstein noted that the event also will serve as the beginning of fundraising efforts to purchase a third dog for the force. The total cost for purchasing and training a new K-9 dog is $30,000, he said.

"This will help raise funds for that," Gottstein said.

His and Posel's dogs represent the second generation of Woodbury police dogs. Previously, Gottstein worked with K-9 partner Andy, who died in 2009, while Posel worked with K-9 partner Shadow from 2002 to 2007.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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