MICHAEL NEZBETH - Grassroots K9
Michael Nezbeth is the Training Director and founder of Grassroots K9, an international training company that specializes in LEO canines. Michael also offers seminars and workshops to LEO and civilians aimed at giving actionable training plans based on theory to practical applications. Michael began his career in the canine industry after graduating with degrees in Psychology and Criminology. His background has given him the ability to apply a theoretical and systematic approach to practical applications in canine deployments.
Michael is a well-versed trainer in numerous disciplines within the working dog world. He has a structured approach that is effectively transferred to both handlers and canines in the areas of Narcotic Detection, Explosive Detection, Obedience, Evidence Search, Problem Solving, Tracking and Apprehension work. Michael applies his education in learning theories to all facets of dog training but specifically has a passion for grip development.
One of his duties is to oversee the Grassroots K9 Prospective Police Dog Program that is responsible for the procurement and training of dogs for work in law enforcement. This unique position gives him the ability to design repeatable scientific based programs for the development of young green dogs into effective patrol dogs. Michael has instructed at seminars locally and internationally for law enforcement, military handlers, and security contractors. He has also trained and placed canines in various agencies across North America.
Mike is a current 26-year law enforcement veteran and 17-year veteran in police service and working dog handler in the Chicago Metropolitan area. He has handled multiple dogs specialized in patrol, narcotic-contraband detection and human remains detection. Mike is currently a K-9 Team Sergeant for a multi-jurisdictional mobile field force, serving the Chicagoland area. He has more than 8,000 hours of training in law enforcement and police service dog operations.
Mike is the lead instructor for Sheepdog Guardian Consulting and maintains the most comprehensive canine legal website, “Canine Legal Updates and Opinions” and contributed to multiple magazines, and podcasts. He has taught and written about police service and working dog operations, industry standards, and legal updates for over 10 years and studied under Terry Fleck, Ed.D. Mike is a committee member of the Illinois Tactical Officer’s Association K9 Committee (Subgroup: Patrol K9) and a former member of the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board Working Group Canine Compliance.
CARLOS RAMIREZ - CRK9
Carlos moved to the United States from his native land of Puerto Rico in 2004 after receiving an athletic scholarship to The Ohio State University. Looking to follow a career in the canine behavior/canine training field, he attended the Tom Rose School and graduated with his Master Dog Trainer certification.
After graduating, Carlos worked with several of the leaders in the canine industry. He served as the director of canine operations for a private contractor where he gained experience managing military and government contracts such as TSA, Border Patrol, NSA, Department of Defense, etc.
Currently Carlos is the founder and training director at CRK9 out of Ocala, Fl and an operating partner at Triple Threat Canine.
During his 46-year K9-centered law enforcement career Steve White was the only person to serve as a handler, trainer, training sergeant, and commander for the Seattle Police Canine Unit. Accredited as a Master Trainer in 1993 by the Washington State Police Canine Association, Steve is also a past Executive Board Member of that body. He served as Vice President of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and is a consultant and instructor for the K9 Academy for Law Enforcement. Steve has instructed seminars in the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Finland, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, and Zambia. He has served as a primary instructor for Karen Pryor's ClickerExpo and the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior. He currently serves on the Victoria Stillwell Academy Advisory Board. His articles have appeared in police K-9 and dog training publications in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Finland, and Japan. He specializes in teaching behavior modification, tracking, and scent work through the use of positive reinforcement-based operant conditioning. He provides consultation and training to K-9 units on administrative and legal issues and has been recognized as an expert witness by Washington and Federal courts in Police K-9 and dog behavior matters.
Scott Clark - High Drive K-9
Scott Clark, Owner and Founder of High Drive K-9, has been a Police Officer for the City of Coral Springs Police Department, Broward County, Florida since January 1999. Since 2001, he has been assigned to the K-9 Unit where he currently serves as an active K-9 Handler & Head Trainer. He has been working and training patrol and detection dogs since 2002. He is a current certified State of Florida FDLE K-9 Team Instructor and FDLE K-9 Team Evaluator.
In addition, Scott is the K-9 Unit Head Trainer, Multi-Jurisdictional K-9 Head Trainer, SWAT K-9 Team Leader, Trainer and SWAT K-9. Scott has a vast knowledge in Canine Behavior, Decoy Development, Bite Building, K-9 Tactics, K-9/SWAT Tactics and has countless K-9 & SWAT Deployments.
Owner & Lead Trainer F.M. K9 LLC
Over 25 years in the canine field and industry
US Army Combat-Veteran - 8 years BSA
Criminal Justice Master Degree Psychology
11 years on SWAT - 3 1/2 years as SWAT Commander - worked canine with SWAT team over 20 years in law enforcement - retired
10 years as a shift commander / supervisor in Law Enforcement 18 1/2 years as a canine handler
18 years supervisor experience of canine unit
DRE / SFST Instructor Defensive Tactics
Instructor Expert witness in canine state, local & federal court's
Over twenty years experience training canine for explosive detection, narcotics detection, patrol-utility work, SAR, Cadaver, for local, state, federal and military
Instruct Decoy Basic skills for over fifteen years
2024 Beer Sponsor for Hold the Line K9 Conference
At a very early age, Mike developed a deeply ingrained love for dogs and the training that went into making them operational. His father would have 15 to 20 hunting dogs in their kennels at any given time along with multiple litters of puppies. Mike and his younger brother were tasked with taking care of the dogs everyday which taught him early on how to properly tend to the needs of the animals. As Mike grew older, his love for raising and training dogs flooded over into his own line of dogs. Throughout the years, Mike has worked with many talented trainers where he gained a wealth of knowledge which he put into training countless working dogs.
Mike became a State Law Enforcement Officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at the age of 24. During his career with FWC, he was voted Officer of the Year for his region and also the NWTF Officer of the Year. He was a member of the FWC Special Operations Group (SOG) as well as a founding member of FWC's Resource Protection Unit (RPU). After a few years, Mike went through FWC's interview and rigorous physical assessment in order to become a member of the FWC K9 program. He was ultimately selected where he was partnered with his first K9 partner, K9 Roscoe. After completing a seven-month K9 school, Mike and K9 Roscoe went back to their respective region certified in tracking, article recovery and fish and game detection through NAPWDA. Mike and K9 Roscoe were responsible for countless arrests along with assisting other agencies in the recovery of crucial pieces of evidence that would have otherwise gone undetected allowing dangerous criminals to walk the streets.
After a couple of years, Mike decided to capitalize on an opportunity to work a dual-purpose patrol dog with the Hendry County Sheriff's Office (HCSO). Mike travelled to Royal Police Dogs in Tallahassee where he tested several candidates but ultimately selected a 10-month-old Belgian Malinois named “Neko”. Mike and K9 Neko attended their patrol school with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office K9 Unit (PBSO.) After completing over 800 hours of training, Mike and K9 Neko certified in Patrol, Tracking and Narcotics detection through FLECA. Mike was invited back to PBSO where he assisted with instructing a large K9 school with teams from multiple agencies. After completing almost two years training, he was given his Police K9 Trainer's certification.
Danny Villarino - Proven K9 Solutions
Danny Villarino is an active Law Enforcement officer in Central Florida with over 13 years of experience. He became a full service K9 Handler in 2016 at the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. Danny provided an essential role in developing and maintaining over fourteen K9 teams throughout central Florida. He was integral in constructing and maintaining in-service training, where he developed individual training programs geared towards improving a variety of disciplines. His dynamic approach to training has been validated by the success of many K9 teams over the years.
Danny launched Proven K9 Solutions in 2022, which is a collaborative approach in providing handlers around the country with the best available training. Proven K9 is a team comprised of current and prior K9 Handlers with a vested interest in the success and preservation of this industry we all love. Proven K9 specializes in creating tailored law enforcement programs such as Integrated Canine Entry (ICE)™, aggression control, tracking programs, team/handler problem solving, civil engagement, decoy development, use of e-collar, and patrol scenarios.
Drew has been a police officer in Canada since 2009. He is the lead trainer for his department’s K9 unit and a C.L.E.A.R. certified Master Trainer with the Canadian Police Canine Association. Drew is currently working his second dual purpose canine and is assigned as a K9 operator on his department’s Tactical Unit. Drew’s involvement with training working dogs started prior to becoming a police officer where he raised and trained several dogs for police work. In addition, he has instructed numerous working dog seminars relating to grip building and decoy work.
Michele Maughan, Ph.D., is a research scientist and program manager for Excet, Inc. a US Defense Department science and engineering contract firm. Michele works at the US Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Chemical Biological Center (CBC) in the Olfactory Sciences group at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. In this role, Dr. Maughan, provides subject matter expertise on canine scent detection and training aids, explosive and other emerging CBRNE threats, sensor technologies, and research, development, test and evaluation of Military Working Dog and Homeland Security canines. In addition to being a scientist, Michele is also a certified explosives detection dog (EDD) handler, currently working on developing her second EDD from puppy to operational canine for R&D projects.
Todd is a former special operations (tier 1) bomb technician and explosive materials expert. He has identified/disposed of/decommissioned several thousand bombs (IED to nuclear). He has done additional work with several USG agencies as a subject matter expert, project manager and operations. Todd is an adjunct professor at New Mexico State University where he lectures and instructs on explosive identification, detonation and disposal. Mr. Wilber if the founder and President of Precision Explosives, LLC.
James is a Canine Training Specialist for the Department of Homeland Security, where he specializes in SWAT and apprehension tactics. Prior to that James was the Master Trainer for Marine Corps Special Operations Command Multi-Purpose Canine Program. There he trained multi different canine teams in various disciplines from explosive detection, apprehension, close quarters battle, tracking/trailing and team integration. During his time as a canine trainer he has worked with various different special operations groups, police departments and allied countries. James was a Marine Dog Handler for 13 years, as well a private contractor for the State Department. He has operational experience as handler and trainer in various countries to include Iraq and Afghanistan. His training philosophy is to “be an asset, not a liability”.
Howard Young - White Beard K9 Inc
Howard is a civilian police K9 trainer located in Shelby NC. From a young age, he had a passion for working dogs, along with a hunger to learn. This passion put him on a path to assist with training police and protection dogs with an acquaintance at a neighboring county Sheriff’s Office. Also on that path was an opportunity to become familiar with the sport dog world. As his knowledge, experience and love of working dogs grew, that path eventually led him to his local police department in Shelby NC. He was offered a job to be a civilian police K9 trainer and for over 25 years, he has been employed to oversee the procurement, development and training of the Shelby Police Department’s K9 teams. He has since contracted with the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office to oversee the training there, as well. Howard has developed
many successful K9 teams over the years, and has been rewarded by their successes in the service of the community. In 2018, he and his wife created a private business under the name of White Beard K9, Inc. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and experiences, hoping to impassion and broaden the skills of others to be successful in the world of working dogs.
Mrs. Jenna Gadberry is a contract Scientist at the US Army Futures Command’s Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center (DEVCOM-CBC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. Mrs. Gadberry earned her B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California at Davis in 2003 and enjoyed a 12 year career at the DoD’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) where she was a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and program coordinator for two Technical Support Working Groups (TSWGs). Since 2016, Mrs. Gadberry has been part of the Olfactory Sciences Team, working on enhancing canine detection capabilities. She now manages a diverse portfolio of active Military Working Dog projects (everything from olfaction to wearables and decon solutions), specializing in the spiral development process of getting applied research and development solutions into end-user’s hands.
𝐉𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧 𝐑𝐢𝐠𝐧𝐞𝐲 - 𝐊𝟗 𝐒𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐔𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐦𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐝
Justin has over 30 years of professional dog training experience and was a Law Enforcement Officer for 17 years. He spent 10 years as a K-9 handler and trainer. His unique background and experience in civilian dog training and as Police service dog training sets him apart from other trainers in his field.
Justin’s passion for dog training is evident. He has assisted thousands of pet dog owners in enhancing their relationship with their dogs, bridging the gap of communication with their beloved four-legged family members. Justin utilizes a proven, reliable, humane and clear, real-world training system, which produces results and a dog who knows its job and loves its job. During his Law Enforcement career, Justin was fortunate enough to have been able to work three patrol dogs. Justin is a former member of the Davie Police Department and their K‐9 unit where he was a handler.
Justin was a Corporal and trainer for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, which had 60 dogs department-wide. During his professional dog training career, he has trained with hundreds of Police K‐9 teams and competed in Schutzhund, Ring Sport, and other dog sports. He has also trained dogs for celebrities, professional athletes, and thousands of pet dog owners. Justin graduated and has been awarded a diploma in the NePoPo Gold training system, the modern language of dog training by Bart Bellon.
Jim O’Brien - NC K9 LLC
Jim is the owner of NC K9 LLC in Four Oaks NC. Jim has been handling and training police canines since 2005. Jim served as a police officer in New Hampshire for 18 years and handled two police canines during that time. Since moving to North Carolina in 2014, Jim has trained police canine handlers and military canine handlers from all over the United States and several foreign countries. ⠀
NC K9 LLC specializes in providing trained police canines and handlers courses to Law Enforcement. Jim also conducts decoy, tracking, detection, and problem solving seminars to enhance your canine unit.
Evan was a U.S. Army Paratrooper, Animal Care Sergeant, and certified USASOC dog handler with extensive operational k9 medical experience. He spent the majority of his 14-year career working independently of a veterinarian, providing direct medical support to Special Operation dog teams at home and abroad. Since leaving the Army, Evan has started training Law Enforcement, Emergency Medical Services, Search & Rescue, and other first responders through his training company, Paravet K9, and in partnership with non-profit organizations like K9s of Valor, Georgia Police K9 Foundation, and MediK9. Evan’s goal is to continue to bridge the gap between first responders and realistic, experience-based pre-hospital K9 care.
Matt Lunsford is a Deputy Sheriff for the Preble County Sheriff’s Office a prior K9 handler and the agency K9 coordinator. Mr. Lunsford has been with the Sheriff’s Office for 30 years.
Mr. Lunsford is an Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy k9 evaluator, and a K 9 trainer for OPOTA-based K9 academy. Mr. Lunsford is a firearms instructor and a criminal interdiction instructor. Mr. Lunsford is a published author with publications in AIRBEATS on the topic of combined arms manhunting. Mr. Lunsford has also written articles for the USPCA. The combined arms manhunting course was designed to use technology in conjunction with K9 teams and tactics to safely hunt those criminals or the lost who need law enforcement assistance. Topics covered will be deployment tactics, marine patrol use, manned aircraft, and unmanned aircraft. Mr. Lunsford is a member and southwest assistant coordinator for NAPWDA, a member of the USPCA, and a qualifying judge for AWD. Mr. Lunsford along with his wife also owns and operates Trifecta K9 which specializes in purpose-raised working K9s used for law enforcement.
Ricky Farley has owned and operated the Alabama Canine Law Enforcement Officer’s Training Center since 1992. He has had the privilege of training police service canines for over 28 foreign countries as well as over 1700 police departments inside the United States.
Over his 25 year career Mr. Farley has trained canines in areas of narcotics, explosives, accelerant and cadaver detection as well as apprehension.
He has made numerous television appearances on issues pertaining to police service canines, assisted both large and small departments in writing their canine policies and procedures, given civil liability lectures along with search and seizure law updates and lectured over 2500 individuals in the area of canine bite prevention.
Mr. Farley has been involved with the University of Alabama, assisting in cadaver dog research and security involving athletic events. He has testified as an expert witness in several court cases.
Ricky is the only civilian to teach classes at the MVCI (motor vehicle criminal interdiction). In addition to MVCI he has taught classes for HIDTA (high intensity drug trafficking area) program.
Eric is the owner and head trainer of VanEss K9 Academy LLC, and cohost of the @working_dog_radio podcast. Eric is a 27 year veteran of law enforcement. He retired as the full-time k9 trainer for a busy K9 unit. Eric handled 4 dogs on the streets to include as a member of a busy, inner city swat team. Eric spent several months training dogs for Naval Special Warfare Group 1 in Coronado, California for Cobra Canine. His specialty is large group scenario based K9 training where he puts dogs and handlers through very realistic, and often very challenging, scenarios with the main goal of creating a team that will succeed on the street and go home safely. Eric and his training can be found on Instagram at @vanessk9.
Ted has been involved in Police Working K9's for over a decade. His specialties are grip work and development, patrol and utility work and proper decoy work, detection training and K9 policy and case law. Ted acts as the training director for our PSA club and is a certified trial decoy. Ted teaches decoy, handler schools and our SWAT/SORT integration seminars for Torchlight K9 as well as our decoy camp for police service trainers and handlers and does numerous camps for military special operations. Currently, Torchlight K9 is the only private company in Oklahoma with CLEET Accredited courses in K9. Ted is also one of the co-hosts on working dog radio and Co-own's HRD Police K9; a scenario based training company for police K9 handlers.
Paul Fedyniak is a veterinarian in Chicago. Paul started the non-profit, MEDIK9USA NFP INC in 2018 to increase the availability of medical training resources and supplies for working canines.
SERGEANT II (Ret) Mike Goosby
Chief Trainer - Metropolitan Division K9 Platoon - Los Angeles Police Department
Mike had 32.5 years (25 years of K9 experience) with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), where he was assigned as the Chief Trainer for the Metropolitan Division K9 Platoon. He is a nationally recognized expert in K9 Tactics, Perimeter Containments, Command Post Operations (Command and Control), as well as off leash search techniques. Mike was the overseer of all aspects of K9 training, maintenance, and K9 selection for the LAPD K9 Platoon.
Mike has also worked and supervised other divisions / units within the LAPD, including patrol, narcotics, C.R.A.S.H., Vice, Safer Cities Initiative, Community Relations, and the Community Law Enforcement and Recovery (CLEAR) unit.
Mike conducts numerous seminars / classes throughout North America, instructing on the proper use of the E-Collar (off leash control), K9 Search Team Tactics, K9 / SWAT Integration, Perimeter Containments, Command Post Operations, and Multi Assault Counter Terrorism Capabilities (MACTAC).
Paul Curtis is the owner and operator of Sniff Industries, LLC, a company that was created in 2019. Sniff industries provides canine training equipment and supplies for all disciplines of detection training. Most significantly, Sniff Industries manufactures and sales their patented Canine Odor Recognition Training (CORT) System to agencies, contractors, private entities, and vendors all over the world. Paul is a 22-year law enforcement veteran that included two sheriff’s offices and a federal drug task force. During those 22 years, Paul spent 17 years in K9. He handled three dual purpose dogs he trained for drug detection, handler protection, tracking, criminal apprehension, and evidence recovery. Paul’s fourth dog was trained in explosives detection, tracking, and evidence recovery. He has also been an all discipline K9 trainer for multiple agencies. Paul’s law enforcement K9 experiences have also included USPCA trainer, NNDDA certifying official, DEA researcher, 2008 USPCA National Drug Detection champion, 2011 World Police and Fire Games Gold Medalist for obedience and agility. Paul is currently an International Forensic research Institute (IFRI) Drug Detection Evaluator and a certifying official for American Working Dog Association in all LE K9 matters.
Gregg Tawney has thirty years of dog training experience, twenty-two years of law enforcement experience, sixteen years as a K-9 Handler, and eight years as SWAT Team Operator and Team Leader. Gegg is currently the owner a trainer for D-Tac K9 LLC, and responsible for the training of twenty-five law enforcement agencies and eighty K-9 Handlers. Gregg is currently the co-host of the "Police K-9 Radio Podcast" which has over 250,000 downloads worldwide.