Huntsville Officer Blane Rodgers and Quintus.
Rodgers is the sole canine handler in Walker County. He and his K-9 Partner Quintus have found over 200 pounds of marijuana, 5,000 ecstasy tablets, half a kilogram of cocaine, and $240,000 in cash. Quintus specializes in detecting marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and MDMA (ecstasy) and also has successfully tracked three suspects.
Rodgers sees Quintus as a law enforcement tool, not something that is used on every traffic stop, but an essential tool for the detection of narcotics. Rodgers got his passion for tracking down drugs during his first day on the job.
“I was exposed to things on the narcotics side due to my training officers that I didn’t know was out there,” Rodgers stated. “My first night I was on foot pursuit after someone with crack. Your first week you are supposed to just sit and watch your training officer, not chase after people. The third night I was able to assist in the execution of a narcotics search warrant. Needless to say, I had a good first week.”
These experiences molded him into a strong narcotics officer. Rodgers’ first year and a half was without a canine.
Officer Rodgers serves as SWAT Team Leader.
Rodgers is also the Team Leader on the Huntsville’s SWAT unit. As the team leader, he sets up operation plans and oversees all SWAT deployments. SWAT officers go through extensive training in tactics and firearms and are utilized in any high risk operation.
On the community service side of his career, Rodgers oversees many Neighborhood Watch programs. The latest “National Night Out” was held on Oct. 4 in the Target store parking lot. This event was a centralized party which invited all citizens of Huntsville to come out and learn about crime prevention and safety. About 300 to 400 people attended. There were also games for the children as well as a helicopter and fire trucks. “It was a good turnout, there were lots of kids and smiling faces,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers was been recently assigned to work strictly street level narcotics and Criminal Interdiction on IH 45.
Rodgers loves his job, but growing up he had no idea that he would be where he is today. “I knew I wanted to go into public safety, just not sure which side. I have a brother who is a paramedic for Austin/Travis County and my father and grandfather were both firefighters. Helping others was instilled in me, and law enforcement has given me that opportunity.”
Rodgers grew up in a small Texas town, Lexington, where he concentrated on sports in high school. His interest in law enforcement began when he took a criminal justice class in high school. The Texas Police Corps program provided him with a full scholarship to Sam Houston State University. This program allowed students to attend a four year university, participate in police corps training, and then be guaranteed a job with specific Texas law enforcement agencies that needed help. The Texas Police Corps program no longer exists.
Rodgers believed that Sam Houston State University was just what he needed.
Rodgers began attending SHSU in the Fall of 1998. He played rugby throughout his college years, as well as intramural sports. Although sports were entertaining and kept him active, he realized during his junior year that he needed to buckle down to improve his GPA. After he graduated from SHSU in August of 2002, he was offered a job in College Station, but had to decline it because the job didn’t qualify under the Texas Police Corps program. If he would’ve accepted that job, he would’ve had to pay back $70,000 in tuition. Instead Rodgers spent two years working in the construction field before attending a police academy in Huntsville. It was here he landed his first job in law enforcement.
Since Rodgers attended SHSU, he has advice for the current students on living in the college atmosphere.
“Live college life to the fullest, but experience different things,” he said. “Meet different people, experience different cultures, and try to be exposed to everything. Experiencing different things does not include drugs, just ideas and ways of living.”
Since his job encompasses SHSU, he sees lots of students partying. Some of those behaviors, like a DWI or possession conviction, can haunt students, especially criminal justice students. A DWI conviction will prevent you from getting a job as a peace officer for 10 years.
“Keep your nose clean,” Rodgers said. “College is a time for fun, and a good life experience, but there are things that can affect the rest of your life and the ones around you.”