Award-Winning K-9 Is All Cop

Wylie police dog wins regional competition

By Randy McIlwain
|  Friday, Mar 25, 2011  |  Updated 12:37 AM CDT
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Big and hairy with a barrel chest describes a lot of police officers -- including one of Wylie's finest.

K-9 officer Caro, a 96-pound Sheppard recently won a regional competition, scoring the highest on criminal apprehension and obedience.

He is also bilingual -- trained primarily with commands in Czech so suspects can't call him off in English.

Officer Brenda Martin, Caro's partner, said he is also skilled at search and rescue and drug detection and can find evidence such as guns and clothing tossed away by suspects on the run. The dog's sense of smell and speed are unmatched even with the best of technology.

And Caro's work is far from over. When he's not catching bad guys, he's working on getting into a national K-9 competition this fall.

Martin has trained police dogs for 11 years.

"They are a big asset to our departments," Martin said. "They can actually help us do our jobs safer and quicker."

Typically, police dogs start training as pups at 6 months old. Their careers in law enforcement usually last between five and seven years, but Martin said the public often doesn't value their service.

She said people think "that he's there to intimidate and just find drugs -- they think that's the only thing they're good for."

But trainers find the dogs so valuable that they want K-9s to get some kind of retirement benefits. The dogs are often injured from years of service, and their care after retirement falls on their owners.

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