“Officer Rico” is the name of the long-serving K9 police dog in the Port Neches, TX Police Department. The only K9 officer on the force, Officer Rico served for eight years before hanging up his harness and retiring.
11Alive, reporting on the K9 officer’s retirement, reported that:
Sergeant Eric Heilman has been Rico’s handler for seven of those years. The sergeant describes his time with Rico as very rewarding.
For Sgt. Heilman and Rico, keeping the city safe took a lot of hard work and was a huge commitment a lot of time.
The same article then quotes Sergeant Heilman as saying, in the context of the long hours he and Officer Rico put in keeping the city safe, “But there’s no better feeling than when somebody’s trying to get away and you use a living breathing thing to go find it.”
Now that he has retired, Officer Rico will become a “porch dog” and Sergeant Heilman said “He’s going to be able to run and do whatever he wants to do when he wants to do it.” Heilman will soon receive Officer Rico’s replacement, a 1 year old puppy.
11Alive, reporting on more of the details surrounding Officer Rico’s career and retirement, noted that:
Residents and officers came out Thursday to show their support and appreciation for Rico. The K9 has quite the record.
Rico was deployed 114 times, caught almost 8,000 grams of meth and has retrieved more than $450,000.
Sgt. Heilman said Rico lives for the job. Whenever Rico isn’t chasing suspects, he’s making rounds in the community.
William and Deanna Albrecht are Rico’s biggest fans.
“I want to be a K9 unit when I grow up. I’m going to follow in sergeant Heilman’s footsteps,” said William Albrecht.
Rico left his celebration with bags of doggy treats and tennis balls, ready to start his retirement. His last shift with the department is Friday, January 6, 2023.
The Port Neches Police Department, posting about Officer Rico’s retirement on Facebook, said “The time has finally come. Our K9 Officer, RICO, is retiring after 8 years of service with the Port Neches Police Department. We are sad to see him hang up his harness, but his retirement is well deserved! Rico’s retirement will be made official at tomorrow’s 4:00pm City Council meeting, after which we will have a recognition ceremony for him at the station. If you would like to stop by and show your appreciation for Rico and his service to the community, please do. We know he would love to see all of you!”
K9 units like Rico have proven helpful in the war on drugs, as police are able to use the dogs to quickly search suspects and their property for illegal narcotics or other contraband that the K9 units can smell.
Featured Image credit: Port Neches Police Department Facebook
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