SWEETWATER, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Three months after the passing of their final K-9, “Stalin,” the Sweetwater Police Department (SPD) announced the arrival of two new pawed protectors joining the force. 17-month-old Dutch Shepherd, “Link,” and 23-month-old German Shepherd/ Belgian Malinois mix, “Timon,” have officially been with the department for one week.

(Left to right) Officers Norman and Timon, and Officers Strickland and Link

“If we have reasonable suspicion to believe there might be something in the car, a K-9 alert will give us probable cause to search the vehicle,” Timon’s handler, Officer Caleb Norman said. “So that’s going to be a great asset to help us fight the drug problem we have here in Sweetwater.”

Officer Norman is a veteran to the K-9 division, previously handling Dana, a K-9 who served along side Stalin before having her end-of-watch on November 10, 2021.

“She passed from cancer a few months ago and she was like family,” Officer Norman said. “She was a really sweet dog.”

(Left to right) Dana and Stalin with handlers

Officer Chance Strickland is new to the division. He told KTAB/KRBC he and Link have been working to build a bond while training over the past few weeks.

“I had some preconceived notions of showing up and the dog is already trained, and the dog does all the work,” Officer Strickland confessed. “That’s not necessarily the case with these newer dogs.”

Link and Timon were trained at Pacesetter K9, A police dog training facility in Liberty Hill, just outside Austin. Officers Strickland and Norman attended a three week course to learn how to work with their dogs. The $20,000 cost to purchase the dogs and their training was covered by a donor who wished to remain anonymous.