Law enforcement officers and their four-legged partners will compete in Murrieta next month to score points for takedown tactics, handling, coordination and other skills in the Murrieta Police Department’s fifth annual “K9 Trials.”

Several dozen teams are expected to take part in the two-day event, slated for Feb. 18-19 on the campus of Murrieta Mesa High School.

There will additionally be a Public Safety Fair hosted by the police department on Feb. 19, featuring displays of law enforcement equipment, information booths on crime fighting and vendors selling various products, according to organizers.

The competition is likely to draw handlers and canines throughout the region. Contestants will be asked to demonstrate competence in a variety of scenarios, including narcotics searches, officer protection and bomb detection, organizers said.

Other exercises will require the teams to exhibit how well partners work together and whether canines follow commands on cue, as well as the dogs’ proficiency in negotiating obstacles.

Admission to the trials is free, though the first day of competition — Feb. 18 — will not be open to the general public.

More information is available at www.facebook.com/MurrietaPD.

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