Brittney Lofthouse – Contributing Writer
Macon County Sheriff First Sergeant Clay Bryson completed his trainer accreditation for the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA) and now serves as a nationally accredited trainer in narcotics and utility phases of law enforcement canine work.
Bryson’s training specializes in canine utility which is obedience, tracking/trailing, article recovery, and aggression control as well as narcotics detection.
“Continued training and staying on top of the new and evolving techniques and needs of our law enforcement officers is a top priority for the Macon County Sheriff’s Office [MCSO],” said Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland. “Imploring officers within the department to receive additional training above and beyond their law enforcement certifications improves the services we provide to the general public. First Sergeant Clay Bryson’s recent accreditation with the North American Police Work Dog Association will not only make our department’s K9 unit more effective and efficient, but will be beneficial for law enforcement agencies across Western North Carolina.”
Holland noted that Bryson’s accreditation was part of the long term plan for MCSO’s K9 unit.
“This specific certification has been a long time goal for our agency and for Sgt. Bryson,” said Holland. “This has been achieved through hard work and dedication with the support of the citizens of Macon County for our agency and for the MCSO K9 program.”
Bryson said that the trainer accreditation is just the beginning and he will continue to stay dedicated to improving his knowledge for the citizens of Macon County.
“I will continue to work with master trainers until I have reached the amount of time and knowledge to sit for my master trainer accreditation,” said Bryson. “The more information I have, the more I am able to give back to our guys as well as the surrounding agencies that take part of in our training days.”
Bryson said his new accreditation will also be of cost savings for local taxpayers.
“Now that I have at least my trainer accreditation, NAPWDA will also help cover some of my expenses when I travel and assist at various workshops,” said Bryson. “It’s a win-win for not only our agencies but also the communities we serve.”
Founded in 1977, NAPWDA is comprised of law enforcement K9 officers throughout the U.S. and several other countries.They are dedicated to assisting police work dog teams throughout the world. NAPWDA conducts in-service training throughout the year and hold a major national workshop yearly. Officers and their K9’s attend these events for problem-solving, legal updates, new techniques in various phases of police work dog use and certifications to our standards
“Just like humans, no two dogs are exactly the same,” said Bryson. “Working with all these different master trainers puts additional tools in my toolbox. There is no one way to train a dog and I don’t want to know just one way. By working with different master trainers, I learn different ways of doing things which allows me to recognize, diagnose, and problem solve more and more issues.”