HUTTO, Texas - The Hutto Police Department has a new officer on patrol and, while they haven't licked it yet, he sure is taking a bite out of crime. Hutto police officer Cody Long has been matched with the department's very first narcotics detection and criminal apprehension K9, a one-and-a-half-year-old Belgian Malinois named Rik.
“He's a force multiplier. He has the ability to see stuff, hear stuff, smell stuff that we would never know. So he can detect crime that otherwise would go undetected,” Long said.
During his first three weeks on the job, Rik has responded to seven calls to clear buildings or check for illegal substances, and he's already discovered drugs during four searches. “In the past, we've always had to call for other agencies to see if they have a dog available to us,” said Long.
While Hutto PD said they have great relationships with other nearby law enforcement agencies, waiting for a dog that's not close by can sometimes cost them the ability to perform a K9 search.
“I'm sure there's times where, in order to make sure we're operating within the confines of the law, that we had to let somebody go when a dog wasn't available, maybe one was too far away, or one wasn't on duty. And we just didn't have that resource, that tool available to us,” Long said.
Which is why the City of Hutto decided it would be positive for the police department to start their own K9 unit. “Having us here in the City of Hutto is critical to be able to respond quickly to our officers when they make a traffic stop to make sure we're in compliance with law and not violating somebody's civil rights,” said Long.
After all, the city has been growing much more quickly in recent years.
“I definitely see, with the increase of the population, the increase of people that are coming through Hutto that we're definitely seeing, more criminal activity as a whole, and along with that comes the increase in drug activity,” Long said.
Which is part of the reason why officer Long jumped at the offer to help fight crime with a new partner. “It's kind of like going to work with your best friend, because you have that bond with your dog,” said Long.
While Rik is a very social able dog, it might be hard to tell when he is training or working. Officer Long wants to remind people who see him out in the field with Rik to ask before they approach him.