A drug-sniffing police dog is patrolling Lebanon High School.
The Lebanon City Schools and local police collaborated to acquire Max, a drug-detection K-9, according to a press release issued Thursday by the school district.
Max was acquired through a $30,000 state grant sought by Superintendent Todd Yohey to pay for the dog and radios for the schools in the district.
The district bought the dog and paid for the training. The police department “accepts ownership, care and additional training.”
“I saw the safety grant as a way to deter students from bringing illegal drugs and substances onto school grounds. We want parents to know that we are looking out for the well-being of their children and trying to dissuade their participation in activities that may harm them,” Yohey said in the release.
“Since Max is trained to take down an intruder upon command, he also provides another security measure for our students and staff,” Yohey said.
The department also converted a patrol car for the K-9 unit.
Lebanon Police Officer Eric Holmes completed training with Max, and they are ready to begin patrolling the school on Drake Road in Lebanon.
Max is a 1 1/2 year old German Shepherd/Malinois mix, bred in the Czech Republic.
The dog and officer were trained by Shallow Creek Kennels in Pennsylvania.
They are to patrol the junior high and high schools.
For the first time, the district added a school resource officer at the high school in 2017.
“The SRO and canine partnerships with the Lebanon Police Department and City of Lebanon have significantly increased our school security. Having a drug dog at school may not stop students from participating in drug use, but should help us keep drugs off of our school campuses. It would be foolish for a student or anyone else to bring drugs onto our campuses knowing that a drug dog is on duty,” Yohey added.
Lebanon Police Chief Jeff Mitchell said Holmes and the K-9 will work in schools and at school activities.
“Dogs have been proven effective in bridging the gap between law enforcement and children, opening up the lines of communication where a child or parent might not normally feel comfortable approaching or speaking with a police officer,” Mitchell said in the release. “Max’s presence in the schools is a four legged reminder of school safety and security, and a member of the school district family.”
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