Prescott Valley’s K9 Turco has a new handler in 10-year PVPD veteran Officer Matt Williams. Turco, a German Shepherd dog, has been with the department for two years. He was originally handled by Officer Luke Williams (no relation) who has returned to the patrol division.
Matt Williams is a Bradshaw Mountain High School graduate, a Navy veteran, and a graduate of the Northern Arizona Regional Training Academy (NARTA) Class 22, who grew up in a farm family. His father trained race horses, and his family raised many other kinds of animals. Williams said he always has wanted to be a K9 officer. He worked toward his goal from the time he started with Prescott Valley, assisting other K9 officers, studying, and working with the Arizona Law Enforcement Canine Association when the organization brought its annual training and demos to the area.
Turco and Williams became partners on Sept. 24, 2016. They spent a month bonding – Turco rode along on shifts even though he was not deployed, and became part of Williams’ family. The team then attended State Department of Corrections K9 academy training from late October through December. They graduated on December 28, and after a vacation, hit the road together in mid-January. Turco has been deployed on every shift since, Williams said, and has had one sizeable narcotics find.
Keeping everything fun is one of Williams’ biggest challenges with Turco, as finding drugs is a game to the dogs and their reward is their work and their favorite toy.
“I have to remember that even if we have a rough day in training or on the job, to keep it positive and not let the frustration set in,” Williams said, adding that the challenge is also the best thing about Turco.
“He is excited toward work, and it gets me excited. The fact that he’s having fun makes work more fun.”
Williams enjoys Turco’s companionship on the road, quipping, “He doesn’t talk back.”
Turco also is fitting well into the household with Williams’ wife and two young children, even tolerating the other family pet, a Pomeranian. “That’s the dog that thinks it’s a person,” Williams said. “Turco just ignores it and looks for his toy.”
Officer Williams and Turco are available for local school and organization visits. Contact him at 928-772-5179.