Campus News

UK Police Department Explosive K9 teams and Critical Response K9 teams completed national certification


LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 17, 2023) — University of Kentucky Police Department (UKPD) Explosive K9 teams and Critical Response K9 teams completed yearly national certification through the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA) on April 12.

NAPWDA is a nationally accredited and recognized organization that trains and certifies police K9 teams. All Explosive K9 teams must be able to detect several different explosive odors and are tested in vehicles, rooms, areas with packages and open areas.  

K9 Junior and Lt. Ryan Johnson completed their 10th national certification, with several NAPWDA certifications and other certifications through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA). 

K9 Kinder and Officer Tanner Reynolds, as well as K9 Pip and Officer Will Milton, completed their second NAPWDA national certification. K9 Luna and Officer Nathaniel Wakefield completed their first national certification. 

The critical response K9 teams must be able to pass a robust obedience test, on and off leash, in different scenarios and stressful environments they might encounter performing their everyday tasks. This certification is a testament to their exceptional temperament, obedience, and socialization skills. 

This marked the first year the NAPWDA offered a police therapy dog certification and K9 Hudson and Officer Michael Culver, as well as K9 Brady and Officer Olivia Steddom, completed their first national certification for police therapy dog. 

UKPD’s K9 unit was established in 2004 and currently has six canine teams. Four canines work in explosive detection and are dual trained for tracking and evidence recovery. Two canines work in critical response providing comfort during critical incidents. All canines are non-aggressive and work during UK sporting events, help with dignitary protection and assist outside agencies when help is needed.  

All canine teams have participated in numerous community service outreach programs that range from demonstrations in several fraternity/sorority and residence housing as well as numerous local elementary and middle schools around Central Kentucky. 


As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.