Brownsville Police Department Officer Marco Huerta reached a milestone this year.
April 19 marked the anniversary of 25 years of service to the City of Brownsville.
And it’s been a long journey for the man, who heads the department’s K9 Unit.
“In reality, growing up, I was a child with a single parent,” Huerta said. “It was tough growing up with a single parent, you know, mother works most of the time. It’s just having so many people raise you, showing me the right way. It was tough.”
Huerta, however, comes from a family in which multiple individuals pursued a career in law enforcement, so joining the Brownsville Police Department came naturally.
“My brother got into law enforcement and I started following his steps. He’s a retired officer from Arlington PD,” Huerta said. “I’ve had other family members that have been in law enforcement, and I just decided that was a profession that I wanted to continue. And I’m here now, 25 years later.”
Twenty-two of those years have been with the K9 Unit.
“I became intrigued with them when I saw them work,” Huerta said of the K9 Unit, which formed one year before he joined the department in 1993. “And I had always been around animals growing up. So it’s something I wanted to do and I tried it, and, lo and behold, in 1995, I got my first police dog.”
That dog’s name was Bronco, and it was a large, black German shepherd.
Now, Huerta breathes police work and is constantly expanding his knowledge on police dogs. He’s a board member for the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association. Other police departments around the Rio Grande Valley call him for advice. And he’s routinely asked to travel to other states to train future canine handlers.
“I like to share my knowledge,” he said.
Huerta and the Brownsville Police Department’s K9 Unit also routinely visits Valley schools to give presentations, as well as explain what the unit does to Brownsville residents who attend the Citizens Police Academy.
But the work doesn’t stop after Huerta’s
“It’s a 24-hour job,” Huerta said.
The canine officers are responsible for the care of their dogs and take them home at the end of the shift.
“They’re like another child,” said Huerta, who has two children.
While Huerta is the consummate officer who spends countless hours researching dog training and communicating with other trainers around the country, he does have a life outside of work.
“The weekends are my days off,” Huerta said. “I like to hang out with my family and friends at my house.”