Mustang Police Officer Aaron Meadows said he felt a connection with dogs from a young age. When an opportunity to get a new K-9 partner came up, he wanted the job.
“It’s something I always wanted to do,” Meadows said. “Growing up, I always had dogs.”
Thanks to an unexpected donation from the Tuttle Police Department, Mustang received Officer Toby, the four-year-old Czech Shepherd mix. Toby is experienced in narcotics detection and tracking. He can track articles used as evidence in crimes and he can also track missing children.
Toby is already certified from Texoma K-9 Training Center, but his partner, Officer Meadows, is not. On March 6, Meadows and Toby will leave for a week of training in Little Rock, Ark. Upon return they will both be certified as a team and ready to officially hit the streets.
It is crucial for K-9 officers to spend an extended amount of time with their new partners. Toby lives with Meadows and they are going through what is known as the “bonding period.” Meadows said the process is new to him.
“He spends more time with me than my wife does,” Meadows said.
Mustang Police Chief, Robert Groseclose, said the addition of Toby was a good surprise for the department.
“We had discussed it as part of our future plans here,” he said. “A department our size has a definite need for dogs.”
The cost of trained police dogs varies, but can be more than $2,000. Groseclose said the Mustang Police Department is able to sustain their K-9 program because of community partners who stepped up to help.
Tractor Supply provides food for Toby and an anonymous donor provided funds for Toby and Meadows to attend team certified training. East Moore Animal Clinic provides community service by taking care of Toby.
While Toby is friendly, he is also an officer on duty. Groseclose said people who want to approach the K-9 should always talk to the handler before they attempt to pet or touch the dog.
“They are here to work,” Groseclose said.