Sheridan Police Department’s new K-9 unit visits Sheridan High School

  To protect and serve the city of Sheridan and the people in it, the Sheridan Police Department attempt to use every resource possible. The purpose of a scent detection canine is to establish probable cause that a controlled substance is present. The establishment of probable cause allows officers to search the area or object the canine is alerting on under the given the circumstances.

  Drug abuse and usage is a problem in Sheridan that the new members of the team, Colt and Charlie, will attempt to set forth. Colt is a Springer Spaniel belonging to Officer John Snoozy and Charlie is a Springer Spaniel/Lab mix who belongs to Corporal Carla Rogers. The dogs are roughly two years of age and they have only one purpose which is to locate controlled substances. The purchase of the new drug dogs cost the SPD roughly $14,000 each from the company “MakorK9.” This cost included the initial handler training with the canines, transportation from Ireland, and the canines themselves. The canines were paid for by the City of Sheridan and donations from numerous individuals and companies from within the community. Although drug dogs are normal within other police departments, Sheridan’s new dogs are the first ones that they have had in three years. These new canines made their arrival to Sheridan in December 2016. They will be used on calls as well as drug searches throughout Sheridan High School and Sheridan Junior High School.

  Every day since day one, trainers Rogers and Snoozy have been intensely training these dogs while treating them as family. Upon the arrival of Colt and Charlie, the new handlers had ten initial training days with them. This was basically a handler orientation training program. Because the canines started training prior to Sheridan’s purchase, they could already identify three substances: methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroine. During their initial ten day training, marijuana was “put on the canines” as a detectable odor and they can now detect MDMA.

  Although these canines can identify controlled substances accurately, the two trainers strengthen their canines for a total of sixteen hours per month. The training consists of “finds” and “seams.” Finds are certain drugs being purposely placed for the canines to locate. Typical locations for these placements include vehicles, houses, apartments, mail, and even airplanes. Seams are certain areas that the dogs search within the areas mentioned already. An example of a seam would be the crack between a school locker door and the other edge of the locker or the crack between doors. When a substance is eventually found, Colt and Charlie give an alert. This indication is a passive focused stare of a certain area.

  Sheridan High School students learned about these definitions and about the dogs in government teacher Tyson Emborg’s classes on Thursday, March 23. “This provided a great opportunity to apply the fourth amendment to a practical school setting,” Emborg said. “We appreciate the willingness of the Sheridan Police Department to come up and work with students so they can understand some of the basic provisions found in our constitution.” Students were indeed given an amazing opportunity for to learn about search and seizure.

  Although these canines are a helpful tool to further advance Sheridan Police Department’s war on drugs in the city, the owners consider the dog’s family. When not training, they typically play fetch with a tennis ball or just play around. Colt and Charlie are not only a tool to use for the Police Department, but they are loved and cared for properly by their new family.