K-9 officer and dog receive OPD honor

A K-9 Odessa Police Department officer has been named as this year’s first Officer of the Month for January.
Credited for having helped catch drug suspects, clearing out buildings and finding people of interest with the help of his 4-year-old, 70 pound Belgium Malinois named “Diego,” Cpl. Joe Galindo was selected by a lieutenant for the monthly honor.
Galindo said he believes this is the first time a K-9 officer and his dog have been recognized for the honor.
“It’s wonderful for us to be recognized,” said Galindo, a 13-year veteran of the OPD. Galindo has been a K-9 officer for the past nine years. “It’s the greatest.”
Galindo and “Diego” are members of the A shift and are “eager to perform their jobs every day,” the OPD reported. “(Galindo) is an excellent handler, officer and teammate.”
“Diego” recently helped catch two suspects, one an aggravated armed robbery suspect and the other a disorderly conduct suspect, Galindo said.
“Diego” also helped catch an armed robbery suspect following a hold-up at a convenience store more than a year ago, Galindo said.
OPD spokesman Cpl. Steve LeSueur said most suspects reported that they would rather be arrested by an officer than to have to encounter a K-9 dog and risk getting bitten.
Galindo thanked the other three members of the K-9 unit. A K-9 dog is good for about 10 years before the animal can be retired, Galindo said.
“Diego” was bought from a dog training center in Pipe Creek for $12,500 two and a half years ago. The OPD credits Galindo for constantly training “Diego” among the other officers on shift, “making sure they are prepared for a situation that calls for the use of a K-9.
“It’s an honor to be selected for all four of us,” Galindo said.