Ten specially trained dogs are now official state K-9s after receiving their badges and commissions as Texas game wardens.
The K-9s, accompanied by their game warden partners, were commissioned during a recent graduation ceremony at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Austin headquarters.
The dogs will work with wardens on a variety of tasks, including drug detection and search and rescue.
The dogs underwent an extensive eight-week training led by Sgt. Wendell Nope of the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) program, according to TPWD.
They received training in search and rescue, narcotics detection, and a few are also trained in resource recognition, which includes recovery of wildlife and gunpowder residue detection.
The K-9 program, which began two years ago, has helped enhance certain aspects of the warden’s job – especially our search and rescue operations, said game warden Captain Jason Davis, who oversees the K-9 team as part of the Law Enforcement Division’s Tactical Operations.
“Now, we can go to the last place a person was and find them faster than we would during a full-area search.”