Unsung Heroes: District Attorney’s Office celebrates national K9 Veterans Day

The Cameron County District Attorney’s Office held a ceremony to celebrate National K9 Veterans Day where the dogs who protect Cameron County received an official badge to thank them for their service Friday morning.

“It’s very important because it is National K-9 Veterans Day and we wanted to recognize these officers, because that’s what they are, they’re officers who do a great job,” Luis V. Saenz, Cameron County district attorney, said.

“They have a special skill and because of that special skill and the collaboration with their handlers they remove and keep off the streets hundreds of tons of drugs and illicit drugs, and not just drugs but money and some are bomb-sniffer dogs and the job that they do with their handlers keeps us safe.”

Saenz said it is important to recognize the K9 officers because they are the unsung heroes and they spend 24 hours a day with their handler. K9 officers recognized are from several agencies such as the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol, Brownsville Police Department, Harlingen Police Department, Cameron County District Attorney’s Office Special Investigations Unit, Combes Police Department and the Union Pacific Railroad Police.

“Somebody was telling me that nobody has ever done this, nobody has ever taken the time to recognize them and we wanted to do that today on their day,” Saenz said. “The handlers are very special, they live with the dog 24 hours a day, the dog goes to the handler’s house, intermingles with the family and they’re inseparable. They’re a special combination.”

During the ceremony, First Assistant District Attorney Edward Sandoval read the poem “Guardians of the Night” which talks about police working dogs and the work they do.

“Together we will conquer all obstacles and search out those who might harm others,” the poem reads. “All I ask of you is compassion and the caring touch of your hands.”

Sandoval said the K9 officers are such an important part of protecting the community. He said they’re instrumental and capable of doing things that humans are unable to.

“They protect the people that they serve and sometimes we need their help, they can do things that we’re unable to do; they can find things that humans in law enforcement are incapable of and they’re such a valuable part of law enforcement,” he said. “This is the day to recognize what they do, they’re instrumental not only in finding a large amount of drugs and large amounts of contraband but finding bad people that we need to find.”

Investigator Jose Hernandez with the DA’s Office said working with K9 Deni, who is 3 years old, has helped him a lot. He said one of the best memories he has with Deni is when he was deployed for the first time.

“I was nervous but I knew that if I put my trust in him he was going to do the job, and that’s what happened. I was extremely nervous to be honest with you, I wasn’t even thinking about what was going on, I just said ‘alright, let’s do it’ and I did what I was trained to do and he did the job by himself,” he said. “That’s one of the best experiences with him.”