DeKalb Co. and Fort Payne City schools now have their own K-9 officer

River the K-9 is a 2 year old police dog on a mission to keep DeKalb County and Fort Payne City schools drug free. For the first time, both school districts now have their very own K-9 officer.

Posted: Aug 16, 2019 6:15 PM
Updated: Aug 19, 2019 12:20 PM

Students this year at DeKalb County and Fort Payne City Schools have a new furry friend walking the halls. While river the K-9 likes to play like any other pet, her handler Sherry Johnson says this dog is on a mission.

"She's trained on 7 odors of narcotics," said Johnson.

River's sense of smell and training allows her to pick up on drugs that could be hidden inside the schools.

"You know, we smell the whole pot of soup, they can pick out the ingredients," said Johnson.

River is particularly special because she's a friendly but constant reminder for students.

"Sometimes that's all it takes, is an active presence," said Corey Dupree, Valley Head High School teacher.

River and her handler make their rounds to multiple schools a day. The department specifically chose a lab to make sure she was well-received by the students.

"She's just a sweet baby," said Johnson.

On normal days, River and her handler will pick schools to search randomly. DeKalb County and Fort Payne City schools came together to foot the bill for river, she cost $6,000.

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