Life Skills 101, because life can be tough…
Officers Jerry Monte and Cory Strength came to Mrs. Major’s Leadership classes on Oct. 9, bringing with them several dogs from the Foley Canine Unit.
Officer Monte talked about single purpose drug dogs, which just bite or search for drugs, and the multi-purpose dogs that do multiple jobs including bite work, tracking and drug searches.
He talked about the hours of training involved with handling drug dogs, and the hours of paperwork they must then complete describing their training so the evidence will be admissible in court.
Officer Monte encouraged students to be very careful about who they hang around. “Your friends can get you in big trouble, ” he admonished.
Dogs have 260,000,000 sensors in their nose. If a dog smells stew, it can smell all the peas, meat, and carrots individually. Dogs have no trouble distinguishing between the smell of your soap, your cologne, and any illicit drugs you have in your possession, house or car.
The Canine Unit dogs eat once a day at night when their work is finished, and unless there is an emergency, dogs usually don’t work for three hours after they eat. This prevents their stomachs from flipping, which will kill a dog (think Marley and Me.) Officer Monte said his dog is very “car aggressive,” so he reminded students never to go up to a drug dog in a police car and bother it. That’s his space he’s protecting.
You will notice that dogs are overheating when their ears turn blood-red, so the officers have to take precautions to ensure dogs don’t get too hot while they are at work.
Officer Cory Strength talked about how you should always be honest with the police if you are stopped in a car. “The police are here to help you, and we’re all on the same team. If you refuse to tell police officers the information you know, you will be guilty by association. If you have drugs in your car while you are riding around with friends, and you don’t claim it, then everyone is going to jail.” He stressed not to lie to the police.
Officer Monte said he knows that teens are smart, and they know who does drugs. He urged teens that if they know their friends are involved in drug use, then don’t ride around with them. He acknowledged that teens have many stresses today, and they needed to talk to other people to stay mentally healthy. The leading cause of police officer’s deaths has been suicide – even adults need to talk to people for their sanity. “Talk to somebody,” Officer Monte said.
Officer Monte said that 90% of the drug issues they deal with in Foley are related to marijuana use, which is a gateway drug to other drugs as teens and adults search for a stronger high.
This was the 4th time in two years that Officer Monte has brought the Canine Unit dogs to Foley High School and our second visit from Officer Strength. The Foley Canine Unit Officers are always informative as well as entertaining.
Both officers shared some words of advice for up and coming drivers. If the police stop you for questioning, never approach the officers with your hands in your pockets. This would indicate to the officers that you may be carrying a weapon. They urged students to keep both your hands on the wheel if they are stopped in a car by police. “Tell the truth,” both officers reiterated.
A big thanks to the Foley Police Department Canine Officers, who are always one of our most favorite guest speakers throughout the year. We would like to thank Chief David Wilson for his continued support of educating the students at Foley High School. We value our Foley Police and wish them safety on the job.
A. Major, Leadership Dept.