The Mill welcomes new detection canines


Bre Kozusko

Jerry, one of the search dogs that Interquest will use at Starr’s Mill, demonstrates his ability on stage. Interquest is a detection program whose goal is to reduce the presence of drugs, alcohol, and weapons on school campuses.

Simone Bates, Staff Writer

This school year, all Fayette County high schools and middle schools will have search dogs roaming the campuses from the company Interquest Detection Canines. The decision to introduce this program was made by the Fayette County Board of Education. 

On Aug. 16, Starr’s Mill had an assembly where Marrat gave insight about the program. Students were able to see a dog work in action. 

“One of the chief concerns was the vaping problem and that vaping is obviously kind of hard to manage,” school board member Scott Howollel said. “We just want to have our students learn in a safe environment.”

Interquest is a program that specializes in trained dogs searching for illegal items on school property. What makes Interquest stand out from the rest is the way their dogs are trained. The dogs have been trained to pick of scents of drugs, alcohol, and medication.

“There are many schools that use law enforcement canines within a forced security,” president of Interquest Ashley Marrat said. “These are the only dogs that are trained on gunpowder.” 

The physical possession of these items does not have to be there for the dogs to “alert.” Residual odors are left behind, which Interquest dogs can detect. The dogs will search lockers, classrooms and the school’s parking lots. They will also be at extracurricular events. 

The visits by Interquest are unannounced and unplanned. Even school faculty will not know when Interquest will arrive.

 “This should hopefully have as much of a preventable effect as it does an actual catching type of effect,” Principal Allen Leonard said. “If our students know the chance that the dogs will be here on a regular basis, they’ll be much less likely to bring things to school that they shouldn’t bring.”

Interquest canines are not typical police dogs. The breeds that Interquest uses consists of Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and a wide variety of hunting breeds.

The dogs may seem cheerful but are not to be bothered. There will not be any direct interactions with the students and the dogs as they work to provide a safe, secure learning environment.