Police officers aren’t the only security force being considered by Michigan schools to help prevent school violence. Now, specially trained dogs are also an option.
Explosive-sniffing dogs are in increasing demand by local schools, according to a recent article in the Detroit Free Press.
Elite Detection K9, based in Rochester Hills, trains dogs to sniff out explosives such as gunpowder. Some of their dogs will be used in Michigan schools starting in fall 2019, the article reports.
“We are seeing more and more schools looking for this type of security because it’s proactive,” Gregory Guidice, president and CEO of Elite Detection K9, told the Free Press.
Though the article doesn’t list which districts might be using K9 detection dogs to prevent school shootingsin the future, Guidice says schools that utilize their services could use them to conduct sweeps of big events like football games.
Recent school shootings have put many parents on edge, wondering what school districts are doing to prevent gun violence and if their children are prepared for what to do if it happens at their school.
Many school districts teach the ALICE program, which stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate, and conduct frequent active shooter drills. The drills teach students three steps to getting out of harm’s way if someone is shooting at a school or any public space: run, hide and fight.
“If you can’t get a clear shot out of the building then hide somewhere secure, not just under a desk (and) the last thing is to fight,” 1st Lt. Michael Shaw with the Michigan State Police told Metro Parent in 2018. “Active shooters are not to be negotiated with. You need to do whatever you can do to get out of that situation safely.”
To keep up with demand for specially trained K9 officers, Elite Detection K9 uses local foster families to host breeding stock dogs. Families looking to foster need to be ready for a major commitment, plus agree to keep the dog either in a fenced-in area or on-leash at all times. Foster families are also expected to deliver the puppies. Learn more about the program here.