A helping paw

New SHS police dog has become vital to school safety

“Outgoing. Friendly.” Those are two words handler Ronald Capps uses to describe Diesel, the new police dog at SHS. And he has been the school’s best friend lately.

“One way that he kind of benefits the SHS community is just keeping our community safe,” assistant principal Joe Horvath said.

Diesel has been making the community a safer place through preventing or stopping drug use along with providing comfort to students and staff along the way.

The four year old purebred Doberman Pinscher is one of the four police dogs in Perry Township schools, and one of the three used for drug searches.

“He’s trained in detecting narcotics,” said David Stalcup, Chief of the Perry Township Schools Police Department. “We do marijuana, heroin, meth and cocaine, and that’s the scents that they are trained on.”

Diesel went through around three weeks of training to be able to sniff cars, lockers, luggage and rooms successfully, though narcotics detection is just one of the roles he plays at SHS.

He can act as a deterrent, one that prevents students from bringing drugs into school. A drug dog being placed in a school can easily scare students out of drug use.

But, Diesel is not as frightening as he may appear. From carrying Capp’s lunch in by the mouth every day to getting a lick of the school’s vanilla ice cream, he is still a furry friend.

“The nice thing about having him down here in student services is that so many students can come in such an agitated state,” Horvath said. “They see Diesel… it kind of puts them at ease.”

He can be a happy place for students on a bad day, even if it may not be his primary function. Diesel doesn’t have to be scary, despite what many students think, according to Horvath.

“If you ever see him, he kind of looks like he’s just always busy. He’s all business,” Capps said. “But, he’s actually not. He loves being pet. He’ll lean against you if he just wants that companionship.”

According to Horvath, Diesel is keeping SHS safe. The “high drive” dog is always learning something new in the school and will not hesitate to play with his tennis ball.

Both Capps and Diesel have been using their good attitudes and personalities to do their task: help with drug activity or increased drug activity at SHS. The program and Diesel are very appreciated by administration and other school staffers.

“He’s always wanting to please, work and stay busy,” Capps said.