Gautier PD expands outreach with help of Officer of the Year, K-9 partner

Published: Sep. 4, 2022 at 10:16 PM CDT
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GAUTIER, Miss. (WLOX) - The officers of the Gautier Police Department are making strides in the community. Efforts by K-9 handler Wade Wildman were so astonishing that he was awarded with Police Officer of the Year.

Wildman was given the award after chasing down a wanted suspect and recovering a firearm.

“I can’t believe I won it,” said Wildman. “There’s so many good officers here that I can’t believe they chose me. What a privilege it was to win it.”

When Wildman isn’t chasing down suspects, he’s chasing down narcotics with K-9 Officer Hank.

“He looks to me for guidance, and I look to him for guidance as well. I’m reading his behavior while he’s reading mine. I’m telling him, ‘Hey, this is where we’re looking,’ and he’s telling me, ‘Yes, Officer Wildman, there’s narcotics here. This is where we’re going to track.’”

Wildman says he takes Officer Hank with him to schools as well as boys and girls clubs to perform demonstrations.

“Oh, they’re afraid of him at first because he’s so big and intimidating, but they relax when they learn he’s just a lab and he’s here for odor work.”

The bond between the two is unbreakable.

“He never talks back to me; I never talk back to him. All he wants is his ball and his food. He doesn’t require much more than that.”

Wildman says he is also working with school resources officers so the K-9 can find narcotics and vape pens.

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