POSTED: Friday, May 18, 2012 - 9:21pm
UPDATED: Friday, May 18, 2012 - 9:26pm
KILGORE — Marco is the 18-month-old German Shepherd that's the newest addition to the Kilgore Police Department.
His handler, officer Brady Middlebrooks tells KETK his new partner is from the Czech Republic -- and trained down in South Texas.
He's ready to sniff out marijuana, heroine, cocaine, meth and ecstacy...and that's not all K-9's are good for.
"Everything from patrol work...as in like building searches, area searches, tracking, criminal apprehension, they are trained to actually take down a criminal," Middlebrooks said.
Middebrooks says Marco costs a little more than $12,000...paid for by seized drug funds, seized vehicles and donations from the public - a pricetag that he says more than pays for itself.
"The senses the dog brings to the table with his nose, his hearing, it's...you know, more than the office brings...and he actually can prevent a lot of injury to the officers you know simply by locating a suspect before the officer even knows he's near them," Middlebrooks said.
Middlebrooks says if Marco stays healthy, he'll serve the department for the next 6 to 9 years...and since Marco goes home with him every night, it's a 24/7 friendship.
"At 3:00 in the morning on some nights, I've had some pretty good conversations with my dogs so yeah...the dog is probably actually more loyal than any person would ever be," Middelbrooks said.
He also says the K-9's are a good way to connect with the community...especially with children.
He says they'll remember Marco's name long after they forget his -- which will help the children feel more at ease coming up to a police officer if they ever need help.