The new K9 officer will be the second added to the police department, which currently has K9 Paco on the force with his handler, Officer David Fuentes.
"We are very excited that we will be able to have another K9 in the police department," said Spring ISD Police Chief Kenneth Culbreath. "We are so appreciative of K9s4COPs for donating the animal to support our efforts to keep students and staff safe. This new K9 will add expertise that only a trained dog can provide. We can't wait to get him on board."
The new K9 is currently being trained in the very specific job of sniffing explosives, as well as learning best behaviors while on general patrol, said Cynthia Caronna of K9s4COPs. "He's also very socialized because he's going to be in schools around students," she said. "He'll be able to walk through crowds and be desensitized to those kinds of distractions so he can focus on his job."
K9s4COPs is a non-profit agency that funds the purchase of highly trained K9 partners for law enforcement agencies and schools, which runs up to $45,000 per animal. The organization, in turn, asks for community support to help offset the costs. To make a donation on behalf of Spring ISD's K9, please click here.
The district is currently in the process of hiring the K9s new handler, who will then get to select a dog from among a small group of trained German Shepherds or Belgian Malinois. "We want the officer to actually have a chance to select the K9 that he or she will be paired with to ensure a good match," said Caronna. Police K9s typically live with their human officer so compatibility is important, she noted.
This Friday, Oct. 25, members of the Spring ISD community will have the opportunity to see some of the best K9s across the country compete in the Hard Dog, Fast Dog competition. The event is being held as part of the annual Texas K9 Officers Conference, which is taking place this week in Houston in conjunction with the Harris County Sheriff's Office Academy.
Up to two dozen dogs and their handlers are expected at 7 a.m. at the Bammel Middle School football field where they will face off in two events: speed as measured by a radar detector and strength as measured by their ability to take down a human in full pads.
"We hope people will come out and see what these highly trained K9s are capable of," said Culbreath. "It's a great perspective on just how talented and skilled these dogs are. They are strong, fast and a great addition to any law enforcement agency."
In eight years, K9s4COPs has given more than 200 K9s and seized over $350 million in contraband. For more information or to make a donation go to www.K9s4COPs.org.