By Roxanne McKnight
It takes one man and one dog – both highly trained – to make up a K-9 unit, and the team of Mexia Police Officer Jason Tharp and a black Labrador retriever named Rocky is the only unit to cover Limestone, Freestone and Falls counties.
They respond not only to Mexia Police Department calls, but also to those in Groesbeck, Fairfield or anywhere in the three counties.
Tharp recently spoke to the Mexia Lions Club about the work he and Rocky do.
The back seat of Tharp’s squad car has been adapted to house Rocky while he is on duty.
Police cars have to be kept running virtually all the time because of the sophisticated electronics on board, but Tharp’s squad car also has to run constantly for his dog. Sometimes in winter, Tharp can turn off the car to allow fresh air to enter; but, if the vehicle gets hot, he cannot put the dog inside until the car’s interior has cooled down.