New K9 Officer at Bella Vista Now Fully Certified

BELLA VISTA — Bella Vista Police Department Officer Matt Hixson recently got fully certified along with his K9 partner, Huk, and he hopes together they can make a difference in keeping drugs off the streets.

Hixson has been in law enforcement for 11 years and has worked at the Bella Vista Department since November 2020. Prior to that, he worked for the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, where he had a K9 partner, Axo. He and Axo worked exclusively on drug cases.

“I got into cop work to try and make a difference to the flow of drugs on our streets. The K9 is a great tool for finding and catching bad guys,” he said.

Hixson has had Huk since Nov. 4 and they were soon certified as narcotics. Just recently they were certified in bite work, and Huk is now fully certified in the state of Arkansas.

He said Huk was good at spotting, which could include spotting suspects or also spotting and finding a wandering child or elderly person. Huk is certified for arresting suspects, which involves biting the suspect, Hixson said. The dog is certified for four different types of narcotics: heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.

Huk is also trained in item searches, Hixson said, which would involve when a suspect runs away from a scene and drops something like a weapon, a tool used to break into a home or a vehicle or clothing, for example. If the police are called to a location where someone has broken in and they don’t know if anyone is inside, Hixson can send Huk to search. He said he had to give three verbal warnings that anyone in the building would be bitten.

Huk is considered dual-wielding as he is patrol certified and narcotics certified.

Hixson said the most interesting things he and Huk had accomplished in their short time together included major drug busts and community-oriented protests.

“The best thing about having a K9 partner is having someone to talk to every night,” he said. “We’re best friends. We have very deep conversations. We get along very well. He’s a companion animal when we come home, and he’s a very focused working dog when he’s at work. He’s my partner.

“One of the best things about being a cop is the camaraderie you develop with other officers…supporting each other…and the level of camaraderie with the dog is 10 times higher. He would lay down his life for me, and I would do the same for him.”

He continued, “When I was little, I thought the cops were cool. They had cool uniforms, and everyone showed them respect. Luckily, that’s something that continues in Bella Vista.”

He said he and his wife moved to Bella Vista from Missouri because they were drawn to the scenic beauty and outdoor activities. They like to spend time outdoors and the people here are “super nice”, he said.

“Everywhere you go, kids recognize the dog and want a trading card,” he said. “It’s a good way to break the ice with the general public. Not everyone likes cops, but everyone likes dogs.”

Rachel Dickerson/The Weekly Vista Bella Vista police officer Matt Hixson and his partner K9 Huk share a special bond.

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