COLLEGE STATION, Texas— The College Station Police Department unveiled their new crime fighting K9 unit on Thursday.
Ciro and Rico are the new four-legged crime fighters that are trained to find and sniff out drugs, and get criminals off the streets by using their specialized tracking skills.
“The superior senses of smelling, hearing, and physical capabilities of police service canines make them a valuable supplement to the police work force,” said Police Chief Scott McCollum.
Rico is almost two years-old and a Belgian Malinoise that came from the Czech Republic. Ciro is a two year-old German Shepard and Dutch Shepard mix that came from the Netherlands.
The dogs and their handlers attended a rigorous four-month training to prepare the dogs for their new roles in keeping the community safe.
“They’re faster than us, and it’s a less lethal option having those dogs,” said Officer Long Le who is Rico’s handler.
Part of the training includes learning how to be partners.
“The bond process goes from just giving them a bath, brushing them, feeding them to letting them understand, ‘I’m here to take care of you,’” said Le.
Officer Matthew Newton who is Ciro’s handler said that he hopes the dogs will be there to not only fight crime but have an impact on the community.
“We are another tool that this city has provided us to serve them, and that's what we want to do,” said Newton.
“Some guys having a rough day, may want to pet the dog to feel better, or we’re having a huge problem with people breaking into houses, so being able to go in and say ‘hey we’ve got a dog we’re going to track these people, and be a visible deterrent,’” he added.
Le agrees, and hopes the community embraces the new K9 officers.
“It’s not my dog,” said Le, “it’s our dog, the community’s dog.”
Chief McCollum said both Newton and Le were selected for their “vision, tenacity, and can-do attitude.”
College Station Police said the total cost for both dogs is around $70,000 which includes training both the dog and handler, and outfitting the patrol units with specialized equipment for the dogs.
“We're excited to have such a resource in our community,” said McCollum.
“Not only for the new members of the department that will be great fight crime fighting tools, but they also afford us an opportunity to continue to our efforts to develop meaningful partnerships with our community,” he added.