‘Skooldog’: Cumberland County uses four-legged officer to patrol hallways and sniff for guns, ammo
Schools in Cumberland County are taking a proactive approach when it comes to preventing school shootings -- with a four-legged officer patrolling the halls.
Meet K-9 Meadow. She's not there to sniff for illegal drugs or patrol the streets.
"When she hears the gunshot, she's trying to take me in the direction in which she hears those gunshots,” says Stephen Manera, campus safety officer.
Meadow is trained to patrol hallways of schools and sniff for guns and ammo. The first "Skooldog" out of the Atlantic County John "Sonny" Burke K-9 Academy in Corbin City. She currently works with Manera at Cumberland County Tech, Rowan College of South Jersey, and Deerfield Township School.
"We'll walk the hallways, patrol the hallways and when it's lunchtime, will go to the cafeteria and basically make sure nothing’s going on in the cafeteria,” says Manera.
Her training is extensive, including teaching her to avoid chaos like screaming and running, and focus on the shooter and potentially taking him or her down.
"Meadow cares nothing about the people running at her,” says director Joe Nick. “Meadow cares nothing about anything except the shooter and she can smell the powder and she knows."
Meadow's name is in honor of Meadow Pollock, who was killed while trying to protect another student in the Parkland shooting.
"The name of the dog is the courage that I would like to see in every dog, every Skooldog."
Nick says he hopes more schools will consider the proactive approach.
"I want people to give it a chance and I want people to understand it’s about helping people, paying it forward, others before ourselves, give something before you ask,” says Nick. “Better security in schools, what better thing could you have with what’s going on in our world today."
Meadow is one of three dogs trained by the academy in Corbin City. The other two work at schools in Ohio and Florida. Nick says he will adding a fourth very soon.