Triangle company's trained dogs can sniff out drugs, explosives
Executives at one local company believe they have an important tool to help cope with these situations: specially trained dogs that can detect drugs and bombs.Posted — Updated
Executives at one local company believe they have an important tool to help cope with these situations: specially trained dogs that can detect drugs and bombs.
Blaze may look like someone's beautiful pet, but the 3-year-old German shepard is actually a trained drug and firearm detection dog. One of his police K-9 colleagues searches for explosives, and the two have been very busy this past year.
"We find marijuana, narcotics (and) prescription pills, which are really a big issue," said Geoff Beckwith, a retired California police officer who three years ago started Stealth Vigilance, a private company that contracts with homeowners, businesses, large entertainment venues, hospitals and schools to detect and find contraband substances. “[If] they know what we're coming in to search for, sometimes we'll find things scattered in the area, in the bushes, outside of windows."
He said his trained dogs can provide a strong deterrent to wrongdoing.
"If the employees or the students are going to know, 'Hey, there's dogs coming in here searching for drugs,' then they're not going to bring it there," Beckwith said.
His company has four specially-trained dogs.
Watson, who is 2 years old, is a graduate of Auburn University's Vapor Wake explosive detection program.
"That's one of the things we train for and hope to never find," said Beckwith, referring to explosives. Beckwith said Watson is the only dog with this specific training in the state of North Carolina.
Once he detects the odor, he's able to track it back through a crowd," Beckwith said.
Beckwith says requests for his company's services in North Carolina have increased dramatically over the past year.
"We've had a dramatic increase based on all of the drug use in schools and all the activity with explosives and bombings around the country and around the world," he said.
Company officials said they believe that, with daily bomb threats now a common occurrence, the need for more dogs like Blaze will increase in coming months.
Many North Carolina sheriff's offices have at least one dog that can do searches like these, but they are mostly reserved for public spaces like public schools and criminal investigations. Beckwith said his company fills in the gaps in the private sector with their dogs.
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