Meet one of the newest members of the Jonesboro Police Department, Officer Rico. Rico is an 18-month-old Belgium Malinois who is a dual-purpose police dog. Rico is trained for narcotic detection and for patrol work (tracking, apprehension, building search and handler protection). Rico is state certified and also nationally certified in narcotic detection and patrol work.
Rico was purchased from Blue Streak Kennels (owner Blake Bristow) by Ritter Communications.”These dogs are great tools for our department,” said Ptl. Dustin Smith, Rico’s handler. “If it wasn’t for you all, we wouldn’t be here today.” To demonstrate the dog’s abilities, K9 trainer Blake Bristow hid a bag of narcotics in the Ritter Communications lobby and Ritter employees observed as Rico quickly sniffed out the drugs. Later, Bristow dressed himself in padded “bite gear” and following a simple command from Smith, Rico displayed his apprehension capabilities by latching on to Bristow’s arm.
With eight dogs in their department, the JPD boasts the state’s largest K9 unit. It costs approximately $10,000 to purchase and train the dogs for police activity, but with the amount of drugs and cash confiscated with the dogs, it takes them just one month to pay for themselves.
Ritter Communications is proud to be a member of our community and we at the Jonesboro Police Department are proud to have as a community partner such a wonderful business with a group of great people looking to make Jonesboro a better place. Thank you, Ritter Communications for purchasing and providing a tremendous asset to the Jonesboro Police Department.
Incidentally, both Ritter and JPD have been around a while. Ritter Communications, founded in Marked Tree and headquartered in Jonesboro, began providing local phone service in 1906. Today, Ritter serves 59 communities and more than 45,000 customers in northeast and north central Arkansas, southeast Missouri and west Tennessee. The Jonesboro Police Department traces its formal history to at least 1905.