Drug dog makes BJHS stop
Sixth-graders at Baldwin Junior High School were introduced to Cpl. Gayland Guinn, of the Douglas County Sheriff department, and his K-9 partner, Baloo, on Thursday.
Principal Connie Wright said the K-9 unit is scheduled annually to make a presentation to the sixth-grade class and also new students. She said it is important for students to know how to behave when the K-9 Unit is in the school for routine drills a couple of times a year, or in a situation where the K-9 Unit is needed.
"I will only have him here for your safety," Wright said of Baloo, a 6-year-old German Shepherd.
Guinn demonstrated some of Baloo's areas of training, including the detection of narcotics. The dog easily detected the odor of narcotics on a towel, placed by Guinn inside a backpack and also inside a teapot underneath a barrel on the auditorium stage. Baloo responds to commands given in German.
"This animal is capable of finding narcotics and he is pretty darn good at it," Guinn said.
When Baloo detects the smell of narcotics, he scratches with his front paws or will bark or bite at it.
"He'll do the same thing for your locker," Guinn noted.
Wright said lockers are not checked at the school, unless there is reason for the check. She said occasionally a student will complain about an odor from a neighboring locker, which is usually spoiled food.
Guinn also talked about how Baloo assists in routine patrol, tracking "ground disturbances" and apprehending suspects.
Although most sixth-graders don't have lockers, they asked Guinn questions about what would happen if Baloo found drugs in a locker that didn't belong to that particular student, or if Baloo would mistake the smell of food for drugs.
Guinn explained that all drug cases are investigated, and that Baloo would ignore the smell of food, unless the food contained narcotics.
Wright stressed the importance of keeping lockers locked, and also of checking prescription drugs in with the school nurse.
"I think the junior high is a very safe school," Wright said. "I want to keep it that way."