The History of Region 15 & Presidents Row
The United States Police Canine Association became the largest and oldest active organization of its kind - "Ever Striving for the Betterment of all Police K-9" - in August 1971 when two existing associations, the Police K-9 Association and the United States K-9 Association merged. The original Florida Police K-9 Association formed in 1964 was later changed to the Police K-9 Association in order to include other interested departments outside the section of the country established by the United States K-9 Association.
In the mid 70's, there were not many police departments with K-9 units in New Jersey. K-9 handlers from Atlantic City, Pleasantville, Hammonton, Ventnor, Wildwood, Cape May and Bridgeton were members of Region 6 and traveled to Philadelphia for meetings. K-9 handlers from the northern part of the state belonged to Region 7 based in New York.
As the years progressed, the Atlantic City Police Department began training more and more police departments with patrol dogs. Under the direction of Sgt. Dennis J. McSweeny, the number gradually rose to the point where members of the southern section of New Jersey wished to establish their own region.
In 1979, McSweeny, along with Ralph Bakely from the Cape May Police Department, Joe Schafer from the Ventnor City Police Department, Henry Madamba and Charlie Seif from the Atlantic City Police Department went to Washington, D.C. and obtained a charter from the USPCA National Executive Board. Ralph Bakely became the first President of Region 15.
Training at the Atlantic City Police Department Canine Training Center expanded to include scent detection of narcotics, explosives, and arson. The arson accelerant program became a certified Regional and National program of the USPCA. The first regional arson accelerant certification was in 1983.
Over the years we have become one of the largest regions in the entire country, boasting over 200 members.