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Roane County Schools Increase Security with Detection Canines

INGSTON, Tenn. (WATE) - Roane County is increasing school security measures with the use of dogs. The school system has an agreement with Interquest Detection Canines to find contraband items like drugs, prescription pills, alcohol and firearms.

A trained handler and canine will be conducting random, unannounced inspections of all school campuses.

Recent concerns about teenage drug use and school shootings has Roane County taking every precaution necessary to keep students safe.

"We want to stop it before it starts," said Gary Aytes, the director of Roane County Schools.

Rocky Montgomery is with Interquest Detection Canines. He uses his personal dog Rome to demonstrate searches. She is trained to distinguish specific scents.

"Their smelling capability is thousands of times greater than a human being," said Montgomery. "All of our dogs and handlers are certified to find common illegal drugs like meth, heroin, cocaine and marijuana."

When an Interquest handler and dog team enters a school, they check lockers, classrooms and parking lots.

The visits are unannounced throughout the school year.

"It is random. I never know when they're coming. The principals don't know when they're coming. There's no issue of someone spreading by word. So they just show up at different schools at different times," said Aytes.

With the new canine searches, Roane County schools hope students are less likely to bring illegal substances on campus.

Aytes adds, "It will not only make our students feel safer, but it will give us another layer of protection from preventing things from coming into our school that we don't want in our buildings."

If the dogs do find something, disciplinary action for students caught with illegal substances on campus will be left up to each school's principal.

"It changes the whole environment. It creates a whole new culture actually. The kids that are even in kindergarten to 5th grade, they learn about it. It's basically a deterrent," said Montgomery.

Roane County has hired Interquest Detection Canines for nine months.

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