Newest police recruit: Four feet, great nose
Not yet 2 years of age and he’s already been successful on the job.
Napo, a 15-month-old Belgian Malinois male, has recently joined the ranks of the Pea Ridge Police Department and within a week of being on the job, had sniffed out 4 grams of marijuana in a vehicle on a traffic stop, according to Police Chief Ryan Walker.
Police Officer John Hicks is Napo’s handler and full-time companion. Hicks, the son of Mildred Hicks, is a 1992 graduate of Pea Ridge High School, and said he wants to serve his community.
“I want to make a difference in my community,” Hicks said.
Napo is a certified dual purpose dog trained for both patrol and drugs. He has three months of K9 class and two additional weeks working with the handler and state certification.
Walker said Napo will “aid in the detection of illegal drugs, tracking of missing/endangered persons and, when needed, provide assistance in the apprehension of combative or otherwise potentially dangerous fugitives (criminals).”
“He is a tool for police officers to use,” Walker said, “for tactical detainment. He is a different level of force like taser, pepper spray.”
Hicks, who has been a dog handler for the Lowell Police Department, said Napo will be with him all the time. He is attentive to Hicks, who has a canine unit inserted in his patrol car to provide a safe environment for
Napo. One of the new police cars expected to be received later this month will be outfitted with a canine unit that includes what’s referred to as a “hot dog unit” that provides a thermometer, fan and other amenities that will provide for cooling of the vehicle when necessary for Napo’s well being.
He said there was no cost to the taxpayers of Pea Ridge and no city funds were used in his purchase nor will be in his upkeep. The dog, which cost $10,000, was paid for by donations from the Pea Ridge Veterinary Clinic, Webb Flooring, Bethel Heights Police Department K9, Bella Vista FOP, Benton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as well as by other smaller donations, Walker said, adding that “the remaining amounts were paid by using money we had saved in our city and county drug funds.
“The Pea Ridge Vet has agreed to donate high quality food for the dog, and has also provided free medical training to Officer Hicks and provided free emergency medical equipment,” Walker said.
Walker said the dog has a two-year life and performance warranty.
Napo will be used at various Pea Ridge events and Walker said the department will abide by all mutual aid agreements currently in place with other cities just as if they asked for a human officer to assist while the officer is on duty.
“Our town will come first,” Walker said, explaining that the dog will only be available to assist on a mutual aid request “if we have enough officers to cover (unless high possibility for loss of life), just like we did for mutual aid requests prior to having the dog.”
Napo plays close attention to his handler, Police Officer John Hicks of the Pea Ridge Police Department.
Napo, a 15-month-old Belgian Malinois, is the newest member of the Pea Ridge Police Department.