LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — "To protect and serve" is a motto for many law enforcement agencies, or it could also be the motto for a good offensive line in football.
Wade Grayson can say he’s done or doing both while going from teammates in a three-point stance to a partner on four paws.
The Harrison-native has gone from facing down nose tackles as an offensive lineman at the University of Arkansas, to stopping crime in his home state with the help of a dog's nose. He is now a wildlife officer with Arkansas Game and Fish.
Six years on the job with the state and he still knows when it’s game time.
“Whenever you step out of the vehicle or deal with someone in the public you’ve got to sort of turn the switch a little bit,” Officer Grayson said.
Grayson could flip the switch in his four years as a Razorback, playing offensive guard through the 2011 Cotton Bowl before going on to a short NFL career. He quickly traded the bright lights for the backwoods of home.
“I loved to hunt and fish and be outside all the time anytime I could,” he said. “I love to turkey hunt so I thought what better job to apply for than the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.”
All that hunting made a job working with tracking dogs almost inevitable.
So now he works with Daisy, a golden retriever trained to track bad guys.
“She's a basic track dog,” Grayson said as he led her around a park in Van Buren County. “She's trained to do article searches for firearms or shotshells.”
While Grayson would rather forget football practices, in this job he never minds playing a game with his K-9 partner once in a while.
He handed a reporter a small, unloaded pistol and directed it hidden in a grove in the park. A few minutes later, he turned daisy loose to track it down. After a big circle around an old oak tree, she pointed her nose in the right direction from about 30 yards away. A quick nudge with her nose was quickly followed by a jump on the side of the tree, letting Grayson know she’d found the gun.
She's done this on the job already and when she succeeds, she doesn't want medals or commendations. She likes getting back to her handler's roots.
“Anytime we get done with anything we like to play ball,” Grayson said as he tossed a bright yellow tennis ball for Daisy to go fetch. The former lineman once served as a backup center, so he looked adept handling either a tennis or a football. “All this is something we both look forward too.”
Daisy and officer Grayson patrol Boone County for the AGFC. They already have a “collar” together. Well, Daisy always has a collar, but the two made an arrest a few months back, catching a suspected arsonist.