As part of our safety, we contract with Interquest Canine Detection Agency. This week our 6th grade learned the process that we use when dogs come to visit. The dogs are contraband dogs which are trained to find alcohol, drugs, medications and weapons. (While students can take medications, they must have them registered in the school office with parent permission.)
"We go to schools and businesses to help keep the locations safe and free from contraband," said Kim Hayes, the presenter from Interquest who brought her dog, Boots, with her. She talked with the students about the organization, what they might see when the dog comes into the school and stressed to the students that just because the dog alerts on a locker or car, does not mean anyone has done anything wrong. The dog might pick up on medications the kids are allowed to take, but just not registered properly with the office; the dog might pick up on alcohol from a bag of empty cans that need to go back to the store.
After Hayes spoke about what they do, she and Boots put on a demonstration during the assemblies. She had several bags on the stage, two of which held banned substances. When Boots goes to work, she sits next to the one that she senses has contraband. If she's correct she gets her toy until it's on to the next search. Boots was a hit among the students. As you can see from the picture, when the dogs aren't working, they're very friendly!
Interquest is not a law enforcement agency, so any alerts from their dogs go directly to school administrators who then take the proper steps depending on the situation; this could mean school discipline or contact with law enforcement. They would follow the handbook. Each stop might include a different type of search, from parking lots, to lockers, classrooms and locker rooms. Only administrators will know when the dogs visit and how many times throughout the year.