New K-9 program to keep guns out of St. Pete schools - WFLA News Channel 8

New K-9 program to keep guns out of St. Pete schools

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ST PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) - The St. Petersburg Police Department is announcing two new ways to keep guns out of schools: Macy and Roo.

Firearms Detection K-9 teams came to be when members of the St. Petersburg Police Department conceived of an idea to help deter kids from bringing guns to schools after a 2013 initiative to get illegal guns off the streets.

The two K-9 teams were awarded from the Justice Assistance Grant: One team staffed by St. Petersburg Police and the other by Pinellas County Schools Police.

Assistant Chief Melanie Bevan, who spearheaded this initiative, says the two dogs, both Labrador retrievers, are passive, people-friendly, single-purpose dogs and trained to search exclusively for guns and shell casings.

The dogs have been trained in locker searches, open area searches, classroom searches and school bus searches.

"To the best of our knowledge, this program is likely the only one of its type in the nation," said Mayor Rick Kriseman, "and serves as yet another example of our commitment to public safety and particularly the welfare of our children."

The two Firearms Detection K-9 teams are:

  • St. Petersburg Police K-9 Officer Chris Ladd and his partner, Macy, a chocolate Lab. Macy was donated to SPPD by Southeastern Guide Dogs after she did not meet their criteria, yet qualified for their career-change program.
  • Pinellas County Schools K-9 Officer Dave Harrison and his partner, Roo, a yellow Lab. She was purchased from a vendor, using funds from the JAG program.

The remainder of the JAG funding paid for the costs associated with the training supplies, handler equipment, promotional items, and normal medical expenses for Macy and Roo.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, the St. Petersburg Police Department, Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Michael Grego and Pinellas County Schools Police announced the initiative and provided a demonstration Wednesday afternoon.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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