Six K9s are now working with security guards at HEB stores in the Coastal Bend.
CORPUS CHRISTI -
Local HEB stores are increasing security by expanding a program that is already in Houston and San Antonio. K9 units will be patrolling some of the grocery store chain's parking lots.
Many HEB locations have courtesy police duties ensuring shoppers are safe, but some of those officers are now getting relieved by the new team, S.E.A.L. Security. And their K9s will be ready to sniff out troublemakers.
"Just to ensure the customers' safety," Anthony Caliguiri, K9 Director for S.E.A.L. Security said.
Six K9 units will be patrolling local HEB parking lots, including Storm and Wren.
"They're not attack dogs, they are here for our protection," S.E.A.L. Security Guard Daniel Bridges said.
Those 3-year-olds have already done a tour of duty at HEB stores up in San Antonio. Now they have taken job transfers to the Coastal Bend, and they are ready to put a pause on car break-ins, theft, and other crime.
"If you walk up to a group of people by yourself, they may figure they can intimidate you. But when you have a dog, it's pretty much a great equalizer. For one they know they can't outrun it, they know they can't intimidate it. Situations usually get resolved pretty calmly, pretty quickly," Caliguiri said.
The dogs' primary job is to be a visual deterrent. They also help keep the security guards safe.
Each K9 is paired up with one of the security guards, who are all former law enforcement or military. They form a special bond and working partnership.
"I can notice if she gets nervous or anything," Bridges said. "If I'm getting nervous or I'm elevating my voice dealing with a situation, she can pick up on my tones and my tendencies, and she will build her level of aggression as needed if I have to build my level of aggression."
The dogs will be at three HEB locations: Port and Tarleton, Leopard and Nueces Bay, and Annaville.
If there are incidents at any other stores, the dogs could be dispatched there too.
"We'll be there any time in the early afternoon until the last employees go home, walk them all to their vehicles and make sure they got off the property safely," Bridges said.
Only then is it K9 quittin' time.
"Oh my God you're terrible," Caliguiri said with a laugh while rubbing Storm's belly, as she rolled over onto her back for a break.
The dogs will start patrolling on Tuesday. Handlers ask that the public do not pet them since they do not want them to be distracted while they are on the job.
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