Beckley PD sees first woman officer certified as K-9 handler

Patrolman Lauryn Birchfield and Gabo
Patrolman Lauryn Birchfield and Gabo(WVVA)
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 3:19 PM EDT
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BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) - Lauryn Birchfield is a Raleigh County native, and now she’s keeping the area she grew up in safe. She started as a patrolman at the Beckley Police Department two years ago. Now, she’s added another role and a partner in crime...

Or rather, a partner who helps her fight crime.

That partner is Gabo, a six-year-old German Shepherd. He stays by Birchfield’s side in her new role as a K-9 handler.

The pair recently finished 200 hundred hours of training, and now Birchfield is the first woman to become a certified K-9 handler at Beckley PD.

“Just the feeling of actually being able to certify and being finished, it was just like a weight off my shoulders,” Birchfield shared. “It was the best feeling ever though.”

Birchfield and Gabo completed their first shift together on Sunday. They are responsible for tracking suspects, seizing drugs, and locating missing or wanted persons- a job Birchfield says requires a strong bond.

“I mean, the trust you have to have in these dogs is crazy because you have to know that they can do their job, and he has to know that he can count on me to help him. It just feels like I’m riding around with my best friend all day.”

Deputy Chief of Police at Beckley PD Dave Allard says the duo has already helped make “The Gateway to Southern West Virginia” a safer place for visitors and residents alike.

“The internal drive that she [Birchfield] has to get out there every day and take drugs off the streets and stop cars, you know, really no fear, and when she really came to us wanting a K-9 when the opportunity presented itself, like I said, it was a no brainer there.”

As for the future, Birchfield says she hopes to continue giving her all to the job she loves every day she’s on duty.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so I mean, I’m really proud of myself, but, you know, I hope to exceed all the expectations that are set for me.”

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