Spring ISD Police Officer David Fuente and K-9 Paco investigate an airplane during a training session with the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association in Amarillo.
HOUSTON – May 10, 2018 – Sharpening skills to sniff out potential trouble is always a high priority for Spring ISD Police Officer David Fuente and his partner Police K-9 Paco.
Paco, a 4-year-old Yellow Labrador, joined the police department two years ago and now routinely visits campuses in the district to encourage children to be their best or sometimes check for dangerous substances. Earlier this month his travels with Officer Fuente took him a little farther than usual.
The two joined police K-9 units from across the country as they participated in training and certification exercises in Amarillo. The annual conference is held by the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association, which is dedicated to maintaining a high proficiency for scent-detector dogs with law enforcement agencies.
The conference concluded with a competition that gave Officer Fuente and Paco a chance to showcase their skills on a national stage. “Just making it through the competition is a big accomplishment considering how difficult the course is,” said Fuente.
About 60 objects were placed in a gymnasium with only a very few containing a narcotic scent. The K-9s are awarded points for each correct alert, but a single false alert results in a large point deduction, which essentially eliminates the team.
The teams were given three minutes to find as many correct objects as they could without any false alerts. Out of 93 teams in the competition, Fuente and Paco finished in seventh place, and brought home a top-10 trophy.
Spring ISD Police Chief Victor Mitchell said he was proud that dozens of law enforcement agencies from all across the country were able to see his department’s strong performance at the competition.
“I’m really pleased that we had such a good showing at the nationals, and that Officer Fuente was able to bring home this award,” said Mitchell. “We’re fortunate to have such a great K-9 unit and Paco is really a great asset to our department.”
As for Paco, his favorite toy – a tennis ball – is still better than any trophy.
The National Narcotic Detector Dog Association was started in Nacogdoches, Texas in 1978 and has grown to represent over 1,800 members in 28 states. Officer Fuente and K-9 Paco train and are certified annually with the NNDDA.