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Each year the association recognizes and awards canine teams for exceptional service in several categories. Nominations are due by August 15th and are awarded at the conference in October.  CLICK HERE to nominate a handler / K9 team for an award.


In addition to the nomination form, please submit a letter detailing the incident(s) associated with the award. The letter should summarize the incident. Please do not submit official department incident reports. A sample letter can be viewed HERE

Handler of the Year

Handlers are recognized for their individual efforts with their canine partner, commiment to their unit, and the community. The awards committee looks at the number of uses, apprehensions, successful tracking events, evidence recovery, and narcotic/explosive finds. Other factors include participation in community events, fundraising if any, for their unit, and other activities. 

Rookie Handler of the Year

Rookie of the Year award is based on the same criteria as the Handler of the Year award but recognizes handlers with less than one year of experience. 

Meritorious K-9 Apprehension

The Meritorius K-9 Apprehension award involves incidents where suspect(s) were taken into custody as a direct result of the canine team's involvement. Factors considered include difficulty of the find (where suspect was hiding), weather conditions, terrain, and type of crime committed. This award is not factored on whether the suspect was bit by the canine.  

Meritorius K-9 Track with Apprehension 

This award is similar in nature to the Meritorious K-9 Apprehension award except that the apphresion was due to the canine tracking the suspect. Additional factors evaluated include the difficulty of the track, weather conditions, terrain, surface changes, and length of track. Please do not submit this award if you have nominated the team for the Meritorious K-9 Apprehension Award.

Meritorious K-9 Track

The Meritorius K-9 Track is awarded to a canine team that successfully tracked a person whether it be a fleeing suspect or a search and rescue mission. The factors evaluated are similar to the Track with Apprehension category but also include information that the canine followed the correct track. This may include evidence located along the path and witness statements.

Meritorious K-9 Article Find
Meritorious K-9 Narcotics Find

Criteria considered for this award include size, location, prior knowledge, difficulty of the find, and handlers own initative. A small but difficult find can be selected over a large but easy to locate find.

The Meritorius K-9 Article Find is determined based on the difficulty of the find, location, terrain, weather conditions, Type of evidence is not important as all evidence located is crucial to the individual case.

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