Cole Bredenberg

K9 Officer with Texarkana Texas Police Department

Cole Bredenberg, a K9 Officer with the Texarkana Texas Police Department (TTPD), grew up in a law enforcement household where he was inspired by watching his father and his father’s co-workers work in the community. “As I grew older, I began to learn more of the nuances of policing and how it impacts the community you live in,” Bredenberg says. “Helping keep the community safe was a guiding factor as to why I joined law enforcement.”

Since pursuing his law enforcement career, Bredenberg says that though the job can be both challenging and rewarding, he enjoys seeing the positive impact that police can have on lives in the community. “It’s encouraging to see people who have an addiction, homelessness, or are victims of domestic violence getting out of their situation. Seeing them thrive as people and better themselves makes you really feel like you can make a difference,” Bredenberg says. “Also, as a canine handler for the department, one of the most rewarding things I can see is my K9 Partner, Thor, excelling and growing.”

For Bredenberg, becoming a canine officer is one of his proudest achievements. He was first introduced to police K9s when he was growing up, and officers would come into his school for a demonstration. Seeing the officer and K9 in action fortified Bredenberg’s determination to join law enforcement and, one day, become a K9 handler. Then, at his first department in Maumelle, Arkansas, Bredenberg was offered the position of K9 handler, but he turned it down because he was getting hired in Texarkana. Once he started in Texarkana, Bredenberg began working with former handlers and current Arkansas side handlers in decoying. He also started assisting with training. “After years of working with them, a spot opened, and I was selected. Being a handler has been my goal in getting into law enforcement, and I often tell people it is the best job at the department,” Bredenberg says. “There is a lot of hard work and times getting called away from your family, but it is extremely fulfilling.” 

The most important day-to-day responsibilities in Bredenberg’s role as a canine handler involve ensuring that Thor is taken care of and trained to his full potential. Bredenberg says it would be a disservice to the city and Thor if he was not “hitting on all cylinders.” So, Bredenberg works hours behind the scenes to train Thor in obedience, narcotics detection, criminal apprehension, and tracking. 

Another of Bredenberg’s major responsibilities is utilizing K9 Thor to get narcotics and firearms off the streets of Texarkana to help keep neighborhoods and children safe. “K9 Thor is certified through the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) as a dual-purpose canine, which means that he can sniff for narcotics and apprehend suspects,” Bredenberg says. 

The last major responsibility Bredenberg has as a canine handler is criminal apprehension. “I have the responsibility of deploying K9 Thor when somebody needs to be physically apprehended due to the nature of the crime they committed. I have to direct officers, supervisors, and other citizens on things I need when K9 Thor is out and working in an apprehension situation,” Bredenberg says. “I work diligently to get the suspect to submit to arrest before needing K9 Thor to physically apprehend the suspect.” 

For Bredenberg, the most challenging part of the job is having patience and remembering that the people are not mad at him personally; they are angry at the situation or the badge. “As officers, we interject ourselves into situations where people are having bad days or maybe the worst day. Tensions are high, and people never like being told they are wrong or that they are going to jail. It’s natural,” Bredenberg says. “To try to overcome this challenge, I remind myself daily that if I was in that situation, I would be just as upset. We are all human and want an outcome that agrees with what we think should happen.”

Bredenberg also strives to be a person who talks to people with dignity and respect. He recognizes that we are all human and have made mistakes. “It builds a relationship with the community when they see you are not trying to talk over them or act better than they are. If I talk to you like you are a normal person who messed up, you may not like the outcome, but at least you know I wasn’t talking down to you. And I was being fair,” Bredenberg says. “I always explain the outcome of a call and how we got to this point. If somebody disagrees, I allow them to explain their side or what they think. Even if it’s impossible to solve the situation the way they want, having a conversation helps them feel they are a part of the solution.”

The biggest lesson Bredenberg has learned in law enforcement is that an officer may never really know what all people have been through. “As officers, we interact with many people daily and get bits and pieces of information about their lives. Then, we slowly piece together more of their story with each interaction,” Bredenberg says. “However, at the end of the day, we will never fully understand a person’s life. We may have somewhat of a grasp on the details, but there will always be stuff we do not know.”

On the most challenging days, Bredenberg is motivated by his family. “I always want a safe place for my family to live and grow up in,” Bredenberg says. “K9 Thor also does a pretty good job motivating me on days I am down. He is always ready to go to work.” 

In fact, all of Bredenberg’s favorite stories at the department center around demonstrations showing off K9 Thor, just like the ones that inspired him when he was younger. “These demonstrations stand out because kids and the community love dogs. Kids at school love seeing what a police dog can do. Seeing their faces while he is working is a great feeling. It is memories that last with the kids for a long time,” Bredenberg says. “The fascination with K9s doesn’t just apply to kids. The same goes for adults. Doing demonstrations for groups and allowing them to see the capabilities of K9 Thor are really great stories for me to tell other people.” 

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