Community members gathered at Bruner Motors Tuesday morning to welcome the newest officer of the Stephenville Police Department, K-9 Officer Buky, his handler Officer Gary Roberts and the program as a whole.

Roberts isn’t new to the SPD but is new to the K-9 program.

“We spend about eight hours a week training and I spent six weeks in San Marcos with him, which was basically a course for me because he really could do everything you need him to before I got there,” Roberts said. “He lives at home with me and he’s a part of the family. My wife and little girl love him to death and he’s starting to accept them and is assimilating to the pack mentality of the house.”

Buky is three and a half years old and was imported from the Netherlands. He’s trained in criminal apprehension, building searches, tracking and narcotics detection.

There were several donations provided for the program including the sleek K-9 vehicle donated by Bruner Motors and dog food donated by Pet Supplies Plus who agreed to feed Buky for life.

“Today is a big day for our department and community as a whole and we want to thank everybody for coming out and celebrating with us,” Police Chief Jason King said. “I really have to thank Gary because his drive and determination showed that he has a passion for this area and if it wasn’t for Gary’s efforts we wouldn’t be standing here today.”

Roberts approached King a year ago about the K-9 program and it was made possible with the support of Mayor Kenny Weldon, the Stephenville City Council and the many donors involved.

“Chief King you are an awesome leader for this community. This is just one example of many others I could give where our police department has found innovative ways to meet the safety and security needs of our community,” Weldon said. “This is going to change Stephenville forever in a very positive way. It’s really great to see the community come together to do this.”

Weldon told the story of an individual the Erath County Sheriff’s Office was trying to detain who was causing problems and pointed out how valuable a K-9 unit can be.

“All it took was an officer to walk over and tap on the door of the cruiser and suddenly the person who was being detained calmed down and let themselves be cuffed because they new that they would rather deal with the officers than the dog,” he said. “The first time that becomes a reality in this community there’s going to be a big signal that’s sent out that you don’t mess with the Stephenville K-9 unit.”

Tarleton State University President Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio expressed his thoughts on how special the partnerships are in this program and how this unit will be a huge benefit to the university.

“We want to provide quality education in a safe environment and this is going to help us do that for those thousands of students, faculty and staff there,” Dottavio said. “We certainly appreciate the partnership and it’s another one of those days that tells us why this is such a special place to live.”