DPS graduates seven K-9 teams
Austin—The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) recently graduated seven new K-9 teams from the Texas Highway Patrol’s Canine Program. A total of four tracking handlers and three drug detection handlers, along with their canines, graduated at a ceremony, which was held on Friday, Oct. 27, at DPS Headquarters in Austin. Of special note, this was the first tracking handler class taught solely by DPS.
“K-9 units continue to play a unique role in the department and our efforts to keep the state safe,” Steven McCraw, DPS director, said. “It’s a strong bond these teams share and one that will be tested as they work to protect their fellow Texans. I’m confident they will make a positive impact in the communities they serve.”
Each graduate completed a rigorous training program which lasted up to 12 weeks and was conducted by DPS. Depending on their specialty, the handlers focused on either tracking or drug detection with their K-9 partners. In all, the tracking teams ran approximately 700 tracks in a variety of conditions and terrain, while the drug detection handlers conducted over 200 training exercises in a variety of environments during the day and night.
All handlers also learned canine health awareness and medical care techniques to ensure the safety of their canine partners while in harsh environments.
The graduating breeds include one Dutch Shepherd and six Belgian Malinois. The new teams will be stationed in Hebbronville, Raymondville, Falfurrias, Luling, Andrews and Eagle Pass.
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