WPPD gets talented new 'officer'

Audrey Drake (right) and Natalie Blanton meet Kenzo, a 15-month-old Belgian malinois, who recently joined the West Point Police Department as a K9 dog.
Staff Writer

Thanks to the community and the department's own hard work, West Point Police have a new tool -- a four-legged one.

Kenzo, a 15-month-old Belgian malinois, joined the force Wednesday. He and handler Artie Cade leave Monday for five weeks of training at the Southern States Canine Academy in Petal.

Friday afternoon, Cade and Police Chief Avery Cook introduced Kenzo to members of the Old Waverly community who raised $3,100 to help offset the cost of the dog, which was bred in the Netherlands and already has spent a year in training.

"This is going to be a real asset to the community and we can't thank you enough," Avery told the Old Waverly visitors as they petted and took pictures with Kenzo.

"From drugs to missing persons to search and rescue and apprehension, he can do everything," Cook added.

For the officer, it's a dream come true.

"It's been my dream since the first day I entered law enforcement," said Cade, whose been an officer with the WPPD for four years.

When he was in the military, he knew K9 officers in the military police and they inspired him.

"It's been a passion to serve the community in this capacity," said the father of four, who now adds a fifth "child" to the home.

But Kenzo's temperament is one of the things Cade says he already loves about the new addition.

"When we went down to get him Wednesday, a 3-year-old girl was there with her dad and she just walked out in the middle of 15 of these dogs and they all just laid down around her," Cade described.
In addition to the Old Waverly community, West Point businesses donated $3,000 and the department took $6,000 from its drug seizure account. Wal-Mart and the Purina brand have agreed to help provide food for the dog to offset the department's costs.

Kenzo's versatile training and skills are an asset because of the different scenarios the department often faces. And his temperament makes him ideal for school presentations, something Cade says will be a big part of their role.

"Community socialization and education will be important," the officer said.

Kenzo joins the Clay County Sheriff's Department's Bruno as the two police canine units in the county.