Hewitt, TX — A spike in the number of narcotics being found and seized during traffic stops has one Central Texas law enforcement agency seeking a new recruit. Hewitt Police Department is planning to soon add a drug dog to its force.
"With the use of a canine, it's a tool that we can use to help us stop the influx of narcotics in our community," said Chief Jim Devlin of the Hewitt Police Department.
For years now, through interlocal agreements, Hewitt PD has called on Lorena and Woodway PD's drug dogs to assist in searches. But, sometimes, that's not always the best solution.
"They may not be available. There's some time constraints as far as holding an individual on a traffic stop when we have reasonable suspicion to believe there's narcotics activity," said Devlin.
Woodway Pd's K-9, Bo, has helped on 25 searches with Hewitt PD over the last year. In fact, he just helped Hewitt PD seize a red Camero during a drug search. All that work is on top of his already busy schedule.
"On average, we're doing about 170 searches a year with our canine. And, we're having about an 87% find success rate," said Bret Crook, Captain of Patrol for Woodway Police Department.
Officials agree that dogs are better at deciphering various narcotics. And, they also say narcotics are typically linked to other crimes.
"It's significantly rated to burglaries and thefts and you know, assaultive offenses, robberies."
Hewitt PD says plans to get a K9 Unit have been in the works for three years now. And, once they get a dog, they plan to assign just one officer to work with it.
"We'll go through a process and determine who we want, who will be best suited for the animal," said Devlin.
Hewitt City Council will review plans to purchase a dog in their next budget meeting. Devlin anticipates having a K9 on the force by the end of the year.