A longtime Tyler Police Department K-9 officer has officially retired due to health and age issues.
Paco, an 11-year-old German shepherd from the Netherlands, became Tyler police officer Steve Black’s partner in November 2010, according to a Facebook post from the police department.
“Paco was way more than a working dog or tool to me,” Black said. “Paco was and continues to be a loyal companion, a faithful partner and a loving family member. It’s going to be very hard going back to work without Paco in our Tahoe and him by my side protecting me.”
Paco will live with Black and his family.
Black and Paco spent over eight years assisting in arrests for illegal narcotics, seizing illegal firearms from drug dealers and assisting patrol, vice and other agencies. They also earned several awards and honors.
Paco took fourth place in narcotic detection at the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association trials in Brownsville in 2016. He and Black completed against more than 100 teams from other states, according to Tyler Police.
He also performed for kids during Red Ribbon Week at Tyler ISD as well as demonstrations at schools, businesses and churches throughout his career, according to the Facebook post.
“K-9 Paco loved his job and he was eager to go to work every day with Officer Black,” the post read.
Paco was trained in five odors of narcotics, obedience and tracking at U.S. K-9 Unlimited in Kaplan, Louisiana.
“K-9 Paco has definitely earned his retirement and he will be greatly missed by all,” the department said in the statement.
Voters on Tuesday approved an amendment to the Texas Constitution that will allow handlers to adopt law enforcement animals with no adoption fee.