RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. — The Randolph County school system has a new drug dog.
K-9 Cooper spent 10 days in intensive training and now patrols school hallways.
Capt. Kevin Walton said the force only had one canine they had to share for a while. Last year, there were five different times they needed one to respond to schools. With the help of donations from people around the community, they now have K-9 dedicated to the students.
“You know they felt like there was a need for a K-9 in the SRO division so that he could be readily available to the school,” Walton said.
It’s a gesture that he said doesn’t come too often.
“Just shows the support we have from the community. The support for the sheriff’s office,” Walton said.
They’re not the only ones excited about this new team member.
“I think it’s every principal’s mission to have a drug-free school,” said Michael Crider, principal of Southwestern Randolph Middle School.
Crider said drugs can be seen popping up in classrooms as early as middle school.
“Our students have the capacity to get into things they don’t know they’re getting into. We all know how big of a danger vaping is right now. And we also know that some vaping materials have active ingredients that can make it an illegal drug,” Crider said.
According to the North Carolina Association of Commissioners, opioid deaths are at an all-time high in Randolph County, so anything they can do to deter people at a young age from doing any type of drug is a must.
“If a school calls and says hey I think we got drugs at our school or a tip, they’ll call Deputy Allen he will take Cooper to whatever school it was and it just speeds up the process,” Walton said. “Anytime we can get drugs out of our school is awesome.”