By Gary Lloyd
After tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tori and Dash will protect Jefferson County schools.
They won’t be school resource officers.
Six-year-old Tori and 4-year-old Dash are Labrador retrievers trained for detecting and locating explosive devices. Both have served alongside U.S. Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In August 2012, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit learned that several dogs that had been in service with the U.S. Marine Corps would be retired due to the downsizing of the contract with the company that trained the dogs for the Marines.
As a result, the dogs were offered free of charge to law enforcement agencies that could use them. The sheriff’s office made the necessary contacts and was placed on a list of agencies interested in acquiring the dogs, said Chief Deputy Randy Christian. “Though they were being retired from the military they still have many good years ahead of them,” Christian said.
Christian said the sheriff’s office received word it would be given one of the dogs, and deputies drove to pick it up May 6 in South Carolina. After seeing the dogs perform, deputies selected one to bring home, Christian said. While on site, they were informed that the sheriff’s office would have the option of a second K9 and another was selected.
The new additions to the K9 Unit will be assigned to school resource deputies and used to help protect students in Jefferson County schools. Jefferson County School System includes Chalkville Elementary, Clay Elementary, Clay-Chalkville Middle, Clay-Chalkville High, Pinson Elementary, Kermit-Johnson Elementary, Rudd Middle and Pinson Valley High schools.
Tori and Dash are also training to locate firearms or ammunition brought into a school.
Contact Gary Lloyd at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.