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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Pups on patrol: new K-9 units in TAMU UPD

TAMU+police+officer+Eric+Walker+sits+with+his+police+dog%2C+Tyson.+Tyson+and+Jackie+are+UPDs+first+K-9+dogs+on+the+force.
Photo by By Kevin Chou

TAMU police officer Eric Walker sits with his police dog, Tyson. Tyson and Jackie are UPD’s first K-9 dogs on the force.

Between June and December of 2016, TAMU UPD officers Eric Walker and Jonathan Blythe were completing training to welcome the first K-9 units to the Texas A&M Police Department.  
Donated by Tony Buzbee ‘90, John D. Schiller ‘81 and K9s4COPs, a 501(c)3 organization that provides K-9 units to law enforcement officers. Jackie and Tyson, a Belgian Malinois and German shepherd, can now be seen on campus striding alongside their partners.
Lieutenant Bobby Richardson of UPD said the process to get K-9 units was in discussion for a couple of years and came full circle when the dogs were donated.
“They were donated by Texas A&M regent Tony Buzbee, 12th Man Foundation Board Trustee John Schiller and K9S4COPs,” Richardson said. “K9s4COPs is an organization that helps build a safer future by putting police dogs in communities and schools, so those three working together allowed us to get these dogs.”
Richardson explained that the dogs were chosen for mobile detection and will be used at large campus events.
“What they are are mobile detection dogs, so they’re trained to recognize components found in explosives,” Richardson said. “So that is why they are used at football games, baseball games, or any type of large event, but on any given day you can find them across campus.”
Kristi K. Schiller, the founding chairman of K9s4COPs, founded the organization in 2011. She decided to donate to A&M to make sure the campus remains safe.
“With everything changing, you know the temperature in America with our safety and the way things are changing, it was time to implement a program at the university to make sure that everyone goes into one of the best learning environments in the world and [stays] safe in the process,” Schiller said.
Schiller said that the K-9 units were trained and chosen because of their heightened sense of smell, specifically with components found in explosives.
“These dogs go in price up to fifty thousand dollars each and they go through hundreds of hours of training… These dogs do not bite they just have a very high sense of smell,” Schiller said. “They go in and can detect smells that are three hundred to five hundred thousand times stronger than a human’s and if you have gunshot residue or certain odors on you that they may find alarming they sit at alert and let someone know that this person smells a little funny and they just need to check them out.”
Schiller said the dogs have an enhanced sense of smell and similar K-9s are at use all over the country.
“Their job is to protect against explosives and explosive devices and odors. They are not drug dogs, they are not patrol or attack dogs, they just pinpoint the issue,” Schiller said. “This is an initiative of our program K9s4COPs, anytime we put dogs on campuses around students or kids it’s called K9s4KIDs, and to date we protect over 1.2 million kids in schools… In 37 states and Paris, France.”
 Eric Walker, an officer for UPD who has been working at Texas A&M for 10 years, said in an email statement that his experience working with his K-9 has been a wonderful journey.
“My experience with the K-9’s has been amazing to say the least. As I have told everyone that ask me this question, this has been a dream come true for me,” Walker wrote. “I’ve always wanted to work with and train K-9’s. Working with these two particular K-9’s has been very rewarding.”

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