COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) – The Texas A&M University Police Department is making history as they welcome two K-9 officers to the force for the first time.
The dogs joined their partners Officers Eric Walker and Jonathan
Blythe, in College Station early last year. According to UPD, Jackie, a Belgian Malinois, and Tyson, a German Shepherd, both two years old, will be utilized daily on the Texas A&M University campus and in the local community.
They will provide support at sporting and special events and to law enforcement agencies in the area.
The following is the official release from the Texas A&M University Police Department:
The Texas A&M University Police Department (UPD) welcomed two K-9s to the force for the first time in the department’s history. Jackie, a Belgian Malinois, and Tyson, a German Shepherd, both two years old, were bred in Europe for traits conducive to detection of explosives. They joined their partners, Officers Eric Walker and Jonathan Blythe, in College Station early last year. Training for the officers and K-9s took place between June and December of 2016.
Officers Walker and Blythe attended the Alderhorst International Police K-9 Academy in Jurupa Valley, California, where they completed a 280-hour mobile odor detection course. With their dogs, they were certified as Mobile Detection Dog (MODD) teams. After completing their initial training, followed by local instruction, the officers and their K-9s passed the National Odor Recognition Test to earn certification from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
K-9s Jackie and Tyson were graciously given to the department by Texas A&M Regent Tony Buzbee ’90, 12th Man Foundation Board Trustee John D. Schiller Jr. ‘81 and K9s4COPs, a non-profit foundation that helps to build a safer future by placing police dogs in communities and schools.
Typically, the cost of each K-9 ranges from $10,000 to $45,000 for the most specialized, and often, they are the first essential weapons to fall in departmental budget cuts. In 2010, Texas philanthropist Kristi Schiller founded K9s4COPs to fund the donation of trained K-9s and the ongoing training of officers in law enforcement agencies across the country. K9s4COPs has placed more than 160 K-9s in 37 states as well as Paris, France. The dogs trained and placed by K9s4COPs have been directly involved in removing more than $180 million in contraband from the streets in just over six years.
The UPD K-9 program also received a grant totaling $84,987 from the Office of the Governor and the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. The grant was administered by the Brazos Valley Council of Governments, and the funding was utilized to purchase equipment and supplies to support the program.
The K-9s will be utilized daily on the Texas A&M University campus and in the local community. They will provide support at sporting and special events and to law enforcement agencies in the area.