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Room to run: Roanoke County K9 officers receive their own obstacle course

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – The Roanoke County Police Department now has a dedicated place to teach its dogs new tricks.

An obstacle course for the department’s K9 officers started taking shape behind its headquarters Friday. The course features training obstacles such as walls, barrels and a car door.

The course came from Spike’s K9 Fund, a Virginia Beach-based organization which provides for K9 officers across the country. Founder James Hatch donated the course to Roanoke County at no cost to taxpayers.

Hatch said he wants the county’s K9s to perform as well as they can in the line of duty.

“I’m making sure that these dogs have everything they need,” Hatch said. “That’s whether it’s an agility course like this, bulletproof vests -- we’ve provided bulletproof vests for all of the dogs here in Roanoke County -- or medical attention if they need it.”

Hatch and other volunteers will complete construction of the course on Saturday.