Freya, a 6-year-old golden retriever, and handler Lt. Tracy Stuart competed in the United States Police Canine Association National Detector Dog Trials in Georgia last week. And they won.

The competition involves narcotics, accelerant and explosives detection dogs in Lowndes County, Georgia, Sept. 18-23. The Stockton University duo faced explosives detection teams from all levels, including local, county, state, federal and military K-9 units.

The teams were tested in general odor recognition as well as searching parcels, vehicles and rooms. The competition tests both the handler and the dog who must work together to locate the hidden explosives.

Stockton’s team took first-place honors in the parcel and vehicle searches and placed first overall in the explosives detection competition.

“I take every opportunity to train with Freya—anywhere we can.” Stuart said. “I expose her to different settings and environments to improve her situational adaptability, proficiency and overall effectiveness.”

Stockton University
Stockton University

As soon as Freya picks up on an odor that she has been trained to recognize, she alerts Stuart by sitting down and focusing her attention on the location.

“K-9s in general are an amazing tool for law enforcement. Besides their incredible scent capabilities, these dogs are loyal, protective, intelligent and skilled,” Stuart said. “They are attuned to human emotions. Freya is all of those things and so much more to me. It is truly a blessing to say she is my K-9 partner.”

The Stockton University Police K-9 team is part of the NJ Detect and Render Safe Task Force and provides assistance in explosives detection operations both locally and statewide.

Stuart and Freya will also be featured in a documentary on the competition, showing a handler’s day-to-day experience as they prepare for the detection dog competition. The show will air on ESPN in November.

Stockton University
Stockton University

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

New Jersey's license plate designs through the years

Every NJ pizza joint Barstool's Dave Portnoy has reviewed

Dave Portnoy, commonly known as El Presidente, is the founder of Barstool Sports. Somewhere along the way, he decided to start reviewing local pizzerias, and the concept took off. Here is every New Jersey pizzeria Dave has stopped in, along with the score he gave them.

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