By Jennifer Lenain, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
The Picayune Municipal Separate School District recently purchased its own drug canine.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the board considered a board policy revision regarding school searches, the addition of canine searches.
The policy will not become official until later this month, said Brent Harrell, assistant superintendent.
“If we had one (K-9) that students knew would be on campus at all times,” Harrell said, “it would serve as a really good deterrent for drugs on campus.”
The 10-month-old single-purpose drug dog is a black, crossbred, American-Irish Labrador retriever named Ace.
Purchased from Deep South K-9 Consultants, LLC. in Picayune for $5,500, Ace will cover all of the schools in the school district, said Harrell. “He will be solely for the school district’s use,” he said.
Ace was recommended to the board by Justin Faia, trainer and owner of Deep South K-9 Consultants, LLC.
“I picked him for his drive and his traits,” Faia said.
Ace has about a month and a half of narcotics training left, said Faia. “Once the school takes over, he will be prepared.”
Ace is trained to pick up the scent of multiple narcotics and can specifically track the scent of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine, said Faia.
As for training Ace, Faia said, “he relates all of the odors of narcotics to finding his (tennis) ball.
“When it’s all said and done and he finds the narcotics,” Faia said, “the ball will be his reward.”
At the end of next month, Ace will begin training with his handler, Sgt. Matt Petree of the Picayune Police Department.
Petree is a resource office for the school district and will work with Ace during school searches.