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Couple in Canine Unit Excel Together

Husband and wife team serve in airport canine unit

May 3, 2011

  © Houston Airport System
  Doug and Maryann Hrncir share passions for both law enforcement as well as canines.
If shared common interests are a key component for any successful marriage, then Doug and Maryann Hrncir are definitely standing on a strong marital foundation.

Both are officers with the Houston Police Department’s K-9 handler division, and both have been assigned to assist in providing security at the three airports within the Houston Airport System.

One other similarity the two have in common is the fact that both, along with their animal partners, have excelled within the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) National Explosive Detection Canine Team Program, being chosen as “Class Leaders” by their peers during their training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

The most recent honor came last month, when Doug Hrncir’s classmates selected him to receive the “Top Dog” honor, reserved for those who display exceptional leadership qualities during the course of the training.

Doug’s wife, Maryann, had already received her individual recognition, garnering the title of “Class Leader” when she completed the 10-week training course two years earlier.

“I wouldn’t call it a competition between us,” Maryann says. “It’s more of a realization that Houston police officers have historically done extremely well in this training, so we need to make sure we do our part to keep that strong tradition alive.”

The course consists of comprehensive instruction, including classroom, explosives safety and awareness, canine care and first aid, and fieldwork with an assigned canine partner. Teams are exposed to many different training environments preparing them for real-world scenarios and critical incident responses.

The course is considered one of the top training programs in the world, and graduates are regarded as the best in their field. Teams are not only used at the airports, but also respond to area bomb threats, suspicious package calls, sweeps for major sporting events, and dignitary assignments.

In fact, the U.S. Secret Service in Houston makes frequent use of the teams. “That’s part of the appeal in working for this division,” Doug says. “You’re constantly exposed to new scenarios and situations."  The Houston Police Department has been in cooperative agreement with TSA and a partner in this program for many years, and graduating teams are assigned to service George Bush Intercontinental Airport, William P. Hobby Airport, and Ellington Airport.  There are currently 12 canine teams assigned to the airport division.

Of course the Hrncirs not only have each other to thank for their shared success, but also their four-legged partners. Doug spends his time with K-9 Officer “EEnvy,” while Maryann patrols Bush Intercontinental with her partner “PPaulette.”

The names of both animals begin with double capital letters. This designates that they were raised in the Department of Defense’s “Puppy Program,” where many of the dogs are named after service members who have died in service to their country. 
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