Criminals in Richland are no match for the local dog who is making a name for himself by helping police officers uphold law and order.
He’s fast, he’s tough… and he’s a really good boy.
If you’re coming to the City of Richland and you think you’re going to outrun the law, you’d better think again, because nobody is faster than Rico.
WJTV 12’s Tara Thomas captured a training demonstration Monday, when officers reenacted Rico’s apprehension of a suspect last week.
The four-year-old Belgian Milinois apprehended the man on-foot, who thought he’d take his chances at evading police during a traffic stop, even after officers warned the man about having a K-9.
Police say the man saw Rico, but continued running through a field.
That’s when officers gave the dog a command, and like lightning, Rico caught up to the man and brought him down, in under five-seconds.
The apprehension was number 13 for the K-9, however police say the number of apprehensions would be much higher, but most people are smart enough to stop running when they see Rico ready to go.
Rico is one of a handful of highly-trained pups that help officers serve and protect Richland residents, in a variety of ways.
Richland Police Captain Nick McLendon say the exceptional dogs are used for “multiple scenarios, daily… if somebody refuses consent to search a vehicle, the dog is deployed. If one of our interdiction guys stops a vehicle on the interstate they think contains narcotics, a canine is deployed. If a kid becomes missing, then we sometimes deploy them to track a missing kid or a vulnerable adult.”
“Also, in the criminal apprehension, if somebody fleas from us, we’ll deploy the canine in that situation.”
Rico graduated from USK9 in Kaplan, La. in 2014, before joining the Richland Police family.
The following year, he was awarded 2nd place in the US Police Canine Association Narcotics Competition, out 41 other teams.
Richland Police walked away with seven out of the 10 top awards.
Rico has since helped 20 other law enforcement agencies with tasks in the state of Mississippi.
This year, Rankin County Chamber awarded him the title of “Hometown Hero.”
Rico’s handler, Police Sergeant Coty Hamilton, says although Rico is incredibly tough, he is great with kids and spends time with Hamilton’s family at home every night. He also enjoys playing with his toys.
In fact, when Rico is on the job, sniffing out drugs for police, he’s actually thinking he is searching for his toys, which is how officers reward him, during their special training.
The “good boy” often performs demonstrations for kids at schools and makes special appearances to brighten their days.