His bite is worse than his bark, meet the newest cop in the Valley

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POSTED: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 4:30pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 12:32pm

There's a new officer in town, but he's not trained to use a gun, he's trained to use his teeth.

The San Juan Police department added a tracking and attack dog to the force.

He doesn't look that intimidating when relaxing with his tongue out in the sun, but get him into work mode and it's hard not to notice his eagerness to literally take a bite out of the bad guy.

"This is our new K9 Rex that we just got. Rex is going to be assigned to our SWAT team, as well as our burglary apprehension team," Sgt. Rolando Garcia, San Juan Police Department.

He's a welcome addition in a border town, where police are constantly battling crimes like human smuggling and drug running.

"In case of a barricaded subject or in a case where our team may not be able to make immediate entry, we can have this option now of releasing a K9 to the location and try to end the situation," said Sgt. Garcia.

Rex is training to track scent and to attack, but police said most times just his presence alone will end a situation.

"A lot of times, just introducing a K9 to that situation, having that person hear the barking of the K9, having the handler say I'm going to release the dog, you better give up, that puts the fear into somebody and they will give up," said Sgt. Garcia.

Rex is the third dog to join the San Juan Police Force; his other two fellow K9 officers are drug dogs.

"We want to have as many tools as possible to address any situation that comes up. Especially in the event of a SWAT situation," said Sgt. Garcia.

Rex will also be available for the Regional SWAT Team, which is a compilation of Valley law enforcement officers.

Rex cost the department $5500, but that money wasn't taxpayer money. The San Juan Police department was able to purchase Rex using money from the Asset Forfeiture Fund. This is money taken from suspects during narcotics investigations.

Rex is a two year old Belgian Malinois.

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