CALDWELL, Texas — The Caldwell Police Department will be welcoming Riggs the Belgian Malinois to the force in less than a month, thanks in part to the insistence of his soon-to-be handler and working partner, Ofc. Coleman Decker.
"This is something I’ve wanted to do since I got into law enforcement," Decker said. ".... I’ll still be on patrol, respond to calls, dispatch, still do everything I'm doing now, but gain the addition of having a canine.”
For years the city and surrounding county have relied upon outside agencies to assist on narcotics calls with their own dogs. Now Riggs will be able to fill in that gap.
"It’s going to be a single-purpose narcotics detection canine," explained Caldwell PD Chief Charles Barnes. "You can add the tracking on later, and that’s something we might do.”
Riggs comes to the department via College Station nonprofit K9s4Cops, which helps police departments acquire dogs (normally costing upwards of $10,000) for free. The Harrison family of Bryan sponsored Caldwell's acquisition of Riggs through the charity.
Riggs arrived to Texas from Europe and is currently being trained in Liberty Hill, where Decker will soon join him. But, he's not the only police dog K9s4Cops is bringing to town.
"We’ve added a K9 program that will start March 1of this year," shared Chief Dep. John Pollock of the Burleson County Sheriff’s Office. "So right now we’re in the process of identifying a handler.”
Burleson County will officially open up a job position for a new K9 handler this Tuesday, and plan to select a dog as early as March.
Like K9 Riggs, this dog will specifically be trained just for narcotics detection. Pollock said the department did not want a dog trained to bite or chase defendants.
"We want this to be just like a deputy out in the community that someone can approach, talk to, or interact with," he explained. The dog is the same way.”
Pollock said their K9 will be able to assist surrounding counties in their own times of need.