Pacesetter K9 donates narcotics detector dog to LHISD Police
By ANTHONY FLORES
As the start of school approaches, the LHISD Police Department is preparing to keep students in the district safe. Part of that plan for safety includes the introduction of Nosek the K9 onto the force.
Pacesetter K9, a veteran-owned and operated K9 training corporation in Liberty Hill, is donating Nosek and helping train officer Jason Wolf to work with the newest member of the force.
“Since we’ve been here, we’ve always been big on community involvement,” said owner Brad Langham. “Two years ago, we volunteered to bring our dogs to the schools and weren’t charging the district for one. Providing the dog will help the school district save a little money in the long run, and instead of paying other people money, they’ll have a dog any time they need it.”
Officer Wolf’s training with Nosek will last two weeks. For Wolf, the most impressive thing is the power of the dog’s nose and its ability to accurately detect scents. Langham and Wolf use the example of soup, saying that while a human smells just soup, the dog can smell each ingredient.
“The most interesting thing is how the whole scent detection works,” said Wolf. “He’s going to be a scent dog only, and it’s amazing how accurate their sense is.”
When training started, Wolf was thrown into the fire. With Nosek already being trained, it’s up to Wolf to learn to work alongside him.
“From day one, it’s you get your dog and start,” he said. “The dogs have been introduced to various scents, so they know what to do. It’s us trying to learn how to read the dog and help guide the dog. A lot of what we’ve been doing is just working through different scenarios.”
Training areas are designed in several different ways. The training itself allows Wolf to learn Nosek’s behavior and changes in behavior.
“So, they hide things. At first, they would tell us, so when the dog alerted or did a behavior change, we knew that it was associated with them picking up the scent of the item,” said Wolf. “Once we learn that they don’t tell us where the item is anymore, so now, we have to search and pick up the behavior changes so I can start presenting him a more detailed search to pinpoint exactly where it’s at. Right now, it’s just practicing learning the dog, and the behavior changes.”
For Wolf, working with Nosek comes naturally, as he is an avid lover of dogs, owning a few himself.
“I’ve been around dogs my whole life. When I was with Austin Police Department, I helped their K9 unit quite a bit for a few years,” he said. “Working with dogs has always been an interest of mine. I volunteered and got on staff for Texas Humane Heroes, a rescue group out of Cedar Park. I have several of my own here at the house that I’ve worked with and trained.”
The combination of his love of dogs, his experience with APD, and the fact that he has the open land to keep Nosek made Wolf the ideal member of the force to work with the K9.
“I kind of volunteered to do it, and because of my experience, I was kind of chosen as well,” Wolf said. “Part of having the dog, too, is not only being able to work with it, but it’s also having a place for him to stay. I live on five and a half acres, so I have plenty of room for him.”
The most important aspect of bringing on the K9 to the force isn’t to use the dog in a threatening way or to have him as a visual deterrent to help keep students safe.
“The whole purpose is to help the schools be safer,” said Wolf. “We know there are drugs in the area, there are vaping and tobacco products among teenagers and alcohol. This dog is going to be certified on narcotics, but eventually, we’re going to introduce it to nicotine and alcohol.”
By slowing the use of drugs and alcohol, Wolf hopes this can keep kids from walking down the wrong paths, that it can save them from the downward spiral that comes with drug addiction.
“This is mainly to help deter bringing this stuff into the schools,” he said. “One thing leads to another as far as gateway drugs and very few kids go straight to hard drugs, they start out smaller. They graduate to something else. So, if we can help keep the school safer, that’s what we want. It’s going to be good community relations.”