AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The Texas Department of Public Safety is five members stronger, with the graduation of five canine teams.
In a Friday ceremony, DPS Director Steven McCraw called the addition a “tremendous asset” to the agency.
“The department’s expertly-trained canine teams play an essential role in detecting and deterring drug trafficking and other criminal activity,” McCraw said.
Four of the new canines will specialize in drug detection, while one will be used for explosive detection. One of the canines came from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The breeds include two Belgian Malinois, two Labrador Retrievers, and one Dutch Shepherd.
The canines will be stationed in Big Spring, Rio Grande City, Alice, Junction, and Austin.
“We are confident that their specialized skills will help make Texas a safer place,” McCraw said.
The trooper-canine combinations completed an eight-week training program and will join 42 other teams across Texas, including seven explosive-detection teams based in Austin, an agency spokesperson said.
According to a department statement, in the first nine months of 2018, canine teams with the agency across Texas assisted in the seizure of approximately 5,100 pounds of marijuana, 203 pounds of cocaine, 85 pounds of heroin, 103 pounds of methamphetamine, 436 pounds of hashish and $4 million in cash.
Watch video of the graduation ceremony here: