Chino Hills, CA — As the school year ramps up, many parents and children are in constant fear that the next mass shooting might happen at their schools.
But former Los Angeles County Sheriff David Harrison said he wants to help prevent possible attacks in schools — by getting help from man’s best friend.
“We’ll run our dogs in classrooms, they’ll just nonchalantly walk down a row of desk smelling backpacks, smelling desk, /we train our dogs to alert or react to specific odor, then we train them to go hunt for that odor, and to alert to us when they’ve found that odor.”
Harrison said dogs’ noses are like giant chambers filled with what seem like folds of towels, creating a large surface with almost half a billion sensory cells—feeding scent information to their brains.
Specific breeds of dogs—particularly Belgian Malinois and German Shorthaired Pointers, are immensely effective as scent detection canines.
“We put the dogs through a test, hiding bags filled with gunpowder and traces of narcotics, and hide them, away from the dogs, around their training compound. In less than five minutes, the dog was able to detect and alert the handler on the exact location of the hidden bags.”
School leaders all over the country, from San Diego to Virginia, have deployed scent detection canines to dozens of school districts to sniff out illegal and dangerous items.
Harrison has been working with schools in San Bernardino County because he said they not only help school staff and teachers detect what they can’t see or smell, but they also protect the emotional and mental well being of at-risk children, before any of them resort to attacking others.
“We are a great deterrent, if kids know that the dogs are on the premises, they won’t be bringing those substances to school. We don’t have an obligation to report to the courts and go through court proceedings it can be handled by the administration in-house, to give the kids the help they need.”