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Shannon Odoi, Reporter

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For the first time, Frisco ISD will utilize police dogs that can smell and detect gunpowder to improve safety and security in its high schools.

German Shepherds are the most common breed of dog used by the police force, but other dogs are also used in the canine forces.

“Most of [the dogs] are German Shepherds or Belgian Malinois,” Student Resource Officer Jeremy Petty said. “[Belgian Malinois] are kind of built like German Shepherds, but they stand straight. If you see a German Shepherd, they kind of have a slant in their back, and they have a very distinct color; black nose and long hair. Belgian Malinois have a black face, red hair and straight back.”

“Most of them need to be aggressive, and need to be able to have aggression trained into them,” Officer Petty said. “If it’s a police dog or military dog, they need to be able to [attack] people to bite on them and stuff like that.”

When the dog is three months old, officers start training it to do workforce tasks. Trainers look for certain traits such as obedience, focus, sense of smell, etc. The trainer evaluates the dog and decides if they should keep the dog for further training, if they should go home to a family or be trained for another task, such as a guide dog.

“Breeders breed the dogs from other working dogs and then they are sent into training,” Officer Petty said. “So basically dogs don’t know they are a drug dog. All they know is that when they recognize certain smells and they find it, they are praised and given a treat or prize.”

Training time varies based on each dog. It depends on the dog, its behavior, its ability to respond to commands from its handler and what it is being trained for.

“It probably takes about six months to a year [to train a dog],” said Officer Petty. “If you are training them to smell stuff only, then you don’t need to work on the aggression and obedience.”

Aggression is a key part of police dogs. Attack dogs are trained to bring out their instinctive aggression. The police forces uses attack dogs to subdue fugitives, threats and criminals.

“Most dogs are trained to be aggressive,” Officer Petty said. “The ones that sniff the parking lot for drugs aren’t trained for aggression, they are only trained to sniff out drugs in the parking lot.”

Police officers do not notify the student resource officers when gunpowder sniffing dogs will be on campus; this is to ensure that students and teachers do not find out and tell others.

“It’s completely random and they don’t tell us before they come,” Officer Petty said. “They don’t tell me before they come either, which I really appreciate because I don’t want to tip anyone off.”

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The student news site of Heritage High School in Frisco, Texas
Top Dogs