WOOD COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - If you happen to pick up a copy of K9 Cop Magazine’s most recent issue, you’ll see two local faces on the cover.
“It’s all about Juma,” said Wood County Pct 2 Constable Kelly Smith, laughing and gesturing to his K9 partner.
Smith says even after the pair were on the cover of the worldwide magazine, his K9 partner has more fans than he does.
“From our Wood County community, the support is overwhelming, it’s more appreciated than most know,” said Smith. “When we’re on the street we get honked at and waved at. The kids come up and want to pet her. We hand out Juma coins and Juma swag.”
Smith believes they have that support from the community for the same reason they got selected to be on the cover of K9 Cop.
“I think the recognition that we’re doing what we we’re trained to do, we’re consistent,” said Smith “There’s always concern with an elected official getting a K9 for political reasons and we proved that wrong, it wasn’t for a political reason, I say that because we’re just a working team."
Smith said he and Juma are so successful because they constantly train.
“It more or less solidified the work our East Texas K9 group does, because without them we wouldn’t be where we’re at,” said Smith.
Juma and Smith don’t only receive support from the Wood County residents, but also from its law enforcement agencies and departments.
“You have a lot of great K9s out there and you have great K9 handlers; sometimes you don’t have the two together at the same time,” said Kelly Cole, Quitman police chief. “We are so fortunate to have a good handler that understands what has to go on out there and a great K9 who knows how to do the work and loves the work from what I’ve seen. They’re well deserving of the recognition they’re getting right now.”
“It’s a dedication to your K9 and a bond that a lot of people don’t understand,” said Smith.
As the only K9 team in Wood County, they stay busy working with the other agencies.
“I think the cooperation of the teams is the most important because we train together, we go to competitions together and when we’re out on the street, the communication between the police chiefs and our local officers is second to none,” said Smith.
Those reading the magazine across the world may see a constable and his K9. Wood County officials and community members will see their favorite furry friend.
“She’s a little smaller than some you see,” said Cole. “But, in the long run, she proves to be twice as big because I think she has twice the heart.”
Smith said he and Wood County are grateful to the organizations that gifted Juma, her training, her gear and her care to the county. To learn more about Juma and her appearance on the magazine, click here.