I started my law enforcement career in 1988 as a Dispatcher for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Police Department while attending classes there. I was then hired as a UALR Police Officer and attended the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy in 1989. In the fall of 1990, shortly after being promoted to Sergeant at UALR, I applied and tested for a position with the Little Rock Police Department. In February of 1991, I received a phone call asking if I was still interested in working for the LRPD. When I responded that of course I was, I was told to report to the LRPD Training Academy on Monday morning February 18th 1991.
After completing the academy in June, I along with Officer Mark Williams (who was also a former UALR and Maumelle, AR police officer), were the only two recruits to be selected to work on the Overlap Squad. This squad was created to work in high call load/high crime areas. In 1993 the Patrol Division was re-organized and expanded. The Overlap Squad was absorbed into the Downtown, Southwest, and newly formed Northwest Patrol Divisions. I was assigned to the Downtown Patrol Division and worked on both the 3:00pm-11:00pm and the11:00pm-7:00am shifts.
In the ‘90’s, with the rise of the L.A. based gangs (Bloods & Crips) and later the Chicago based gangs (Folk Nation & People Nation) we saw the associated rise in drug trafficking and violent crime. I worked in the Midtown area, which was thrust into the national spotlight by HBO’s “Bangin’ in Little Rock”. During this time, with numerous vehicle and foot pursuits, I had ample opportunity to work with several of the K-9 Handlers and their partners. I was very impressed in the abilities of the K-9’s and I volunteered to do agitation work, on my own time, during K-9 training sessions. After being taught how to be an effective decoy, I “caught” dogs in training as well as at public K-9 demonstrations.
In late 1999 the Little Rock Police Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni Association offered to donate a K-9 to the police department. An announcement was made of an upcoming opening on the K-9 Unit and I applied. In early 2000 the dog that the LRPCPAA had donated arrived and I was selected to become the newest member of the LRPD K-9 Unit. I was partnered with “Beck”, a German Shepherd, and we began to bond and train together. During this time I also learned how to select, develop and train new K-9’s and have since trained or assisted in the training of seven of our past and present K-9’s and their handlers. After a distinguished four-year career, “Beck” became sick with a still unknown illness that persisted off and on for three months. On the night of May 4th 2004, after tracking and apprehending a fleeing felon, “Beck’s” fever spiked and he appeared to be suffering from severe joint pain. I took him first to the emergency Vet and then in to his regular Vet when they opened the next morning. Unfortunately, “Beck” could not overcome his illness and he passed away that day. You can see his memorial here http://petmemorialcards.com/mem2004-16.html.
Since we had been approved to expand the Unit prior to “Beck’s” death, we immediately began a search for my new partner as well as dogs for our four new K-9 Handlers. “Xantho”, a German Shepherd with papers from the Netherlands, arrived that summer from Czechoslovakia along with the four other dogs and the training process began. In the fall of 2004 “Xantho” and I certified in Patrol and Narcotics and we hit the streets.
“Xantho” was an extremely high energy and high drive dog but he is also very personable. When not in “work mode” he was happy to give big wet “kisses” to anyone who will let him. When it was time to work, there was no doubt that he is around because, as the other handlers pointed out, he sounded like a hyena. He loved finding bad guys and narcotics but playing with his toy was his favorite pastime.
Some of “Xantho’s” awards and recognitions include:
Arkansas 2005 Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award for District 2.
Little Rock Police Department Medal of Merit in 2006.
Awards from the National Narcotics Detector Dog Association for narcotics detection in 2005 and 2006.
Story about “Xantho” and one of his apprehensions in the book K-9 Heroes by Jim Mayfield, Ph.D.
Little Rock Police Department 2009 Officer of the Year- posthumously awarded
K-9 "Xantho" was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma, a cancer that usually presents on the spleen, in December of 2009. Unfortunately, after having his spleen removed and undergoing chemotherapy, the cancer returned and "Xantho" had to be humanely euthanized. I would like to say "Thank you!" to everyone for the generous donations that we received for "Xantho's" treatment. While, in the end, the treatments were not successful, "Xantho" was able to retire and become a house dog. He was pampered, spoiled, and had several good months just taking it easy. "Xantho's" memorial page can be seen here http://www.petmemorialcards.com/mem2010-X.html.
On February 1st, 2010 I picked up my newest partner, K-9 "Rocky". After a two week school, K-9 "Rocky" was certified in Narcotic Detection and in Patrol Operations. We are now at work on the midnight shift and spend much of our time training in order to bring "Rocky's" performance up to the level that I believe is necessary for the Little Rock Police Department K-9's.
Thank you for visiting the LRPK9 Association website!
Tank & Rocky