MADISONVILLE, Texas — Madison County has been without access to a police dog for at least a year now, and K9 officers play an important role in combating drug trafficking.
Starting just last month, a pup from New York made his debut in the rural Texas community.
Madison County Sheriff’s Deputy Frank McIntyre has been with the department for two years now, and for all the calls he’s taken, there’s a common theme that frustrates him.
"We have a large meth problem," McIntyre said. "I’d be willing to bet that most of our crimes in general, one way or another, link back to narcotics.”
Some local police departments have had K9s sporadically, according to the sheriff's office, but for at least the past year tackling the local drug problem with searches of vehicles has been an uphill battle.
"If we asked for consent and there was no probable cause, we’d have to let them go," McIntyre said. "It happened more times than we can count, and is unfortunate. Gladly now, that it no longer.”
Introducing: Maverick the pit bull. Rescued by a nonprofit agency out of a New York kill shelter, Maverick was picked up by the Sector K9 Foundation and trained to be a narcotics detection dog. After a few years working for a Louisiana police department, he’s now made his way to Texas.
"I went to the DFW area at Sector K9's facility, and every scenario that we went through for narcotics detection, Maverick found all the alerts the first time," McIntyre said.
The human and dog officer duo haven’t made a drug bust in the past two weeks of Maverick starting work, but McIntyre is already feeling confident about this new furry asset.
"I did make one stop, I had some indicators going on," he said. "...And the driver denied my consent to search his vehicle. I advised him that I would then deploy my dog to do a search around the vehicle, and at that point, he just said, ‘ I have some marijuana and a gun.’”
The deputy is excited to start taking Maverick to community events, to socialize him.
Maverick enjoys a good pat, and he’s not trained to bite – unless you happen to be a rubber squeaky toy.