ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – The Española Police Department’s newest officer has hit the ground running. Kumo is not your normal patrol officer; in fact, he is the department’s first K-9 officer in over 20 years.

Kumo is the newest K-9 at the Española Police Department. He’s been on the job since May and has already helped in 20 operations.

“Just recently, within a day or two, he may have assisted in an investigation that resulted in the seizure of 200 fentanyl pills,” said Mizel Garcia, Española Police Chief. Besides the fentanyl, Kumo also found heroin, cocaine, and meth. Officers also found guns and cash; the bust was big enough that the feds took over the case.

“Because of the amount, and because we also had numerous weapons involved, and because of the persons that were arrested, we have been able to have these cases adopted by federal agencies,” said Garcia.

The department hasn’t had a K-9 unit since the early 2000s. There are two different types of police dogs: one that will smell out drugs and the other that will apprehend suspects. Kumo has training in both areas but will strictly focus on finding drugs.

“We do come across large quantities of illegal narcotics, primarily fentanyl, and that’s something that our K-9 officer Kumo has really excelled at in helping us. So he serves as a very significant value addition to our force,” said Garcia.

Kumo is seven years old and is currently the only K-9 in the department. A new female cadet is in training to expand the K-9 unit once she joins the force. “We’ve had discussions that upon her graduation from the law enforcement academy…hopefully we’d be able to guide her into that second or third K-9 position,” said Garcia.

Kumo has two sons, and his handler hopes both of them will be trained to be K-9 officers in the future. The police department is even reworking a patrol car to help Kumo ride along.