Local News

State Department Of Correction Gets Grant To Form K-9 Drug Unit

Posted March 25, 2002

— The latest crime-fighting tool for the state Division of Prisons is also man's best friend. Officials are hoping the dogs will help fight the war on drugs behind bars.

"Inmates are creative as far as drugs," said Capt. James Moody of the state Division of Prisons. "They secure them in body cavities. They hide them in shampoo bottles."

As a result, the state Department of Correction is using dogs in an effort to decrease the flow of drugs into prisons.

This past fall, the department received a grant to purchase six dogs. Seven dogs, in all, will be used in prison systems across the state. The dogs can trace everything from heroin and methamphetamines to crack cocaine.

"They can detect a seed in an ashtray of marijuana. It's amazing, the olfactory process," dog trainer Sgt. Eddie Poole said.

The dogs are also used to hunt for escapees.

"I would say the dog would replace five to 10 staff members in searches because of the area dogs can cover," Moody said.

According to the Supreme Court, anyone on prison property has "a reduced expectation of privacy," which means if someone is visiting the prison, they could be searched. Each of the seven dogs will be assigned to different regions of the state.

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