HEMPSTEAD COUNTY, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – There’s a new crime fighter on the streets, and his duties include detecting drugs in two southwest Arkansas counties.
K-9 Officer Pakal, and his handler, Hempstead County Deputy Kyle Malone, are teamed up on patrol. They worked their first shift together this week. “He’s an 18-month-old Belgian Malinois, and he’s very cool-headed. He likes to play, but when it’s time to work, he’s ready to go,” Malone said.
These two are also members of the Eighth Judicial District Drug Task Force, which covers Hempstead and Nevada Counties. “This is a dual-purpose K-9, who will work in narcotics detection, tracking and apprehension,” said Eighth North Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Christie McQueen.
McQueen added that Pakal was paid for with funds seized from illegal drug deals. He is the first K-9 for the task force. “Deputy Malone and Pakal will go onto the campuses of our county schools … the focus on the schools, according to Sheriff (James) Singleton, is that we do have more incidents of folks bringing drugs into our students, and we’re very concerned about that.”
Malone has always enjoyed dogs, and what’s so special about Pakal, he said, is that he’s so good at his new job. “He gets his reward when he does what he’s supposed to do. That’s a paycheck, if you will, for him,” Malone said, as he and Pakal play tug-of-war with a chew toy on the grass of the Hempstead County Courthouse.
Malone has been with the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office for over five years. Pakal lives with Malone and his family.