Influx of Drug Dogs: More Than a K9 out of 10

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(Graphic/Bella Ramirez)

Since the dawn of time, or rather around 2005, drug dogs roamed the school. The U.S. first began training dogs to identify drugs and other substances in 1971. Now, nearly 50 years later, we use drug dogs on a regular basis on school campus. When Mr. Dean Nolle took the title of Head Dean, he aimed to increase the usage of drug dogs. “We continue to use them, so I will leave it at that,” Dean Nolle said. “We feel it is still a good use of our time and resources.”

Dean Nolle went through many drug dog companies before landing on the one we currently use—an unnamed company run by Sunrise police. “I’ve Googled and there’s no company info. They use all their law enforcement contacts,” Dean Nolle said. He has not met the person he issues the checks to for the company.

Nolle believes the drug dogs are successful but he is not prompted by current drug issues such as the vaping epidemic. Rather, he tries to keep the drug dog visits constant. “We are more aggressive now than we used to be. I bring in the drug dogs more than I did in the past, and that will continue,” Dean Nolle said.  “Simply, it works, and it makes sense from a school point of view as a deterrent.”

Originally the dogs could only detect the drugs when all the students left the classroom. “Now the dogs are so trained. They just zip up and down the rows,” Nolle said. “It’s really kind of cool to see the dogs at work.”

The dogs used are not limited to just school campuses though. “They have dogs who do money. They go to the ports and go to shipping. Money has a distinct odor, and if the dog hits a bag then it usually is connected to other stuff like drugs,” Nolle said.

However, the dogs can get bored and stop actively looking for drugs if they are unsuccessful. For this reason, the handlers will bring police evidence and plant it in Heritage to keep them searching. “We even put stuff in lockers—empty lockers—because if they come a couple times and don’t find anything then they get bored,” Nolle said. “Whether they catch or whether they deter, in the end it’s part of what we want our school to be.”

Bella Ramirez, 15, is a passionate journalist and Marvel fan. She enjoys writing for the newsmagazine, doing segments in WAHS and running her third publication, Pressing the Future. Ramirez has her head in the clouds and her heart in New York, fingers crossed she can last the next few years of high school in this Florida heat.

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