Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit visits high school criminal justice class

By | June 6, 2019 10:19 am

By Rachel Auberger

White County High School offers a program of study in criminal justice, and, as part of that program, law enforcement agencies are often invited to present information about their departments and trainings to the students.

“The Criminal Justice Program of Study allows students to become familiar with the way the justice system operates,” said Jerrica Demps, who teaches the criminal justice classes at the high school. “We have a lot of agency involvement from Tennessee Highway Patrol, the White County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the city police. We really appreciate all of their involvement and support of our students and their learning.”

Recently, the K-9 unit at the White County Sheriff’s Department brought several officers, both human and canine, to the school to discuss the benefits of having a K-9 unit on staff with the department and the training officers must partake in to be a part of this unit.

Officers discussed breeds of dogs commonly used, the training the animals must undergo, and the abilities of a fully trained K-9 officer. They talked to the students about the abilities of the trained dogs to distinguish scents for tracking, regardless of how many distractions may be around or how many people and animals may have been through a search area. They discussed the ability of the dogs to search out illegal substances and had a canine demonstrate his ability to identify which box out of a group had been contaminated.

Officers also talked about the dogs’ loyalty to their partners and trainers and demonstrated the dogs’ abilities to follow commands and focus on their partner.

At the end of the hour, they also discussed the ability of the dogs to subdue a suspect. A demonstration was done as one by one the dogs sat and waited for their partners’ commands before grabbing hold of a “suspect” (another officer helping with the demonstration and knowledgeable with the program and training). The dogs did not release their subjects until given the command by their partners.

Demps said, “Offering students first-hand experience within their field of interest certainly plays a role in their final determination for a career choice.”

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