Director of Schools Dr. Grant Swallows addressed some questions surrounding the InterQuest Detection Canines in the schools and says the dogs have already sniffed out some problems.
At the county Education Committee meeting, Swallows explained what the dogs look for and why they went with an outside company instead of the Sheriff’s Department. The dogs are trained to smell firearms, alcohol, drugs and prescription drugs.
“From the school system standpoint we are looking at it as a deterrent. We want our kids to know every month these dogs are going to visit our school campus. Ultimately I want our kids to think 'I don’t need to be bringing the stuff I have to the school campus,'” said Swallows.
The reason the school system did not partner with the Sheriff’s Department is because Swallows says they are already spread thin.
“The problem with that is the Sheriff’s Department is spread thin anyway so asking them to come in every month was going to be a tall order. This company, this is all they do. They don’t tell us when they are coming, they show up and we have a process,” said Swallows.
Last week the company paid a visit to the high school.
“Has anything come from it?” asked Commissioner Cam Montgomery.
“Oh yes. I can’t really speak to that, but we have unfortunately found--and if you read the press release, I want families to know, especially at the high school level because we will have a kid that will go hunting one morning before school throw their gun in the back of the truck and go to school. That is breaking the law. I know 25 years ago people would drive around schools with guns in the back of their windows, but it is a different time,” said Swallows.
He says they do not want to catch anyone, but the dog will find whatever is on the campus that should not be. Swallows is hoping this will continue to be a deterrent.
“I will just give you an example. There was some alcohol in a car and that dog is going to find it,” said Swallows. “Nobody gets into education to say we hope to catch someone bringing alcohol on campus, but at the same time it is against the law and we need our people to know that they are not doing that.”
Commissioner James Hines asked if the dogs also go through the teacher parking lot and Swallows says they do. Swallows also said vapes have become a problem in schools. A vape is a device used for inhaling vapor containing nicotine and flavoring.
“We are having a terrible time with vapes,” said Swallows. “First of all, vapes are just extremely dangerous because we don’t know what’s in them, but kids these days are sharing them and it is Russian roulette. We are doing the best we can to try and help in that regard.”
InterQuest Detection Canines Inc. will continue to show up monthly.