PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – Panama City Beach Police are anticipating the construction of a brand new K-9 training facility. 

The space will elevate training for instructors and police dogs. Law enforcement will also be able to grow their K-9 unit. 

“There will be 12 kennels,” said Panama City Beach Councilman Phil Chester. “We have 8 kennels now, and I think we’re going to get a few more up to 11 and leave one open just in case, so we’re very excited.”

The project costs $1.6 million, most of which is funded by a $1 million state grant. The rest of the money will come from the general fund. Authorities say the facility will also enable them to host training programs and participate in some healthy competition. 

“I’ve discussed with some of our higher-ups and leaderships as far as trying to host and conduct some types of seminars,” said Panama City Beach Police Officer Chase Shankle. “It’s a show-off thing where you come in showing off how well we’ve done with our dogs and how much work we put in. It’s very rewarding to see what work you put in when you go out and actually perform in the real world.”

The facility is a safe place where K-9s can be housed if their owners are away for long periods of time, but Shankle advises handlers to take their dogs home on a daily basis otherwise.

“They’re pack animals, so that contributes to that dog’s bond with me where I’m the one that provides the food. I’m the one that does the extra training with him. I take advantage of every opportunity once I’m home to do that extra training.”

The training facility is in its planning and design phase. It’s unknown when construction will begin.