After several weeks of intense training, the Burnet Police Department K-9 unit of Sgt. Jeremy Stewart and Kuso are on patrol.
In March, the department selected Stewart as the new canine officer to partner with Kuso. Stewart takes over after the passing of Kuso’s former handler, Officer Jose Meza, who died of a heart attack in December 2019.
Stewart, a 13-year law enforcement veteran, and Kuso trained at the Hill Country Dog Center in Pipe Creek, completing the program the week of April 13.
“The training starts with narcotic odor detection. It consists of running many scenarios for different find locations from vehicles to buildings to open fields,” interim Police Chief Jason Davis said. “There are countless hours working with Kuso on his ability to detect the odor of narcotics.”
Stewart and Kuso aren’t limited to drug interdiction. They also worked on tracking someone’s scent, ranging from a few hundred yards to a mile or more, the chief added.
“This becomes beneficial when we have a missing person that we have a good start location and could possibly track them,” Davis said. “This is also beneficial in the criminal apprehension side because Kuso can track suspects, which can lead to not having officers walk around blindly.”
Davis said he wants the community to get to know Stewart and Kuso. In the future, they plan to visit schools and present community programs so residents can meet them and learn about Kuso’s abilities.