WAXAHACHIE

Waxahachie Police Cpl. Chance Huckabee performed a drug arrest Monday outside of Foodland on West Marvin Avenue. He was assisted in the arrest by his four-legged partner, Cross.

Huckabee has been in the police force for 15 years. Over the last six years, however, he’s been a K9 handler who has taken his German Shepard-Belgian Malinois mix, Cross, into the field. Huckabee said Cross is eight years old, and he’s spent his last six years as a police dog.

“He’s pretty much known me his entire life,” Huckabee said. “He’s been through two academies – one through Worldwide Canine, and one through Ellis County, which was put on by police service dogs. That one was probably about four years ago.”

Huckabee said that Cross is a dual-purpose dog, trained to be both a narcotics and a patrol dog. Huckabee explained that meant he could both sniff out illegal drugs and chase down suspects on the run from police.

“If somebody runs during a traffic stop or if somebody breaks into a building, they’ll set up a perimeter,” Huckabee explained. “If they believe somebody is still in the area, they’ll call him or the new dog to come and try to find him.”

But Huckabee said Cross’ bark is worse than his bite. He said whenever he’s not on patrol, Cross is just as friendly and approachable as any other dog.

“He’ll take care of business, but it’s only when you put him in that mode,” Huckabee said. “He’s real social. We get him out, let him play with the kids like he did when we had the open house at the PD.”

Huckabee said he’s been both with and without a partner dog whenever he’s out in the field. He said he prefers being a K9 handler rather than going at it alone.

“You have a constant partner that’s always with you,” Huckabee said. “You grow a bond. Plus he’s my best friend. He gets to come to work with me every day. He watches my back; I watch his back. We kind of take care of each other.”

Huckabee said a new dog starts with Cross on Wednesday to help while the K9 unit is out on patrol. Cross is set to retire next year after seven years of service.

“That’s the part I’m going to miss once he’s gone,” he said. “I’m not going to have him back there. Sometimes I just talk to him. He doesn’t answer me back, but he’s always back there.”

Even though he won’t have Cross in the patrol car with him, Huckabee said he isn’t letting him go – he plans to formally adopt him next year whenever he’s up for adoption with the city.

“He’ll come to live with my family,” Huckabee expressed. “He’ll be our dog.”