This spring, Oakdale High School will begin having “detection dogs” on campus to assist in enforcing the student conduct code. An informational student assembly is slated for Friday, Jan. 6 during school and a parent assembly will be held that evening at 6 p.m. at Oakdale Junior High School.
A contract with Interquest Detection Canines, located in Denair, was approved at the November regular meeting of the Board of Trustees. The district has had a prior contract with this detection canine provider and the district’s Director of Pupil Services Larry Mendonca proposed reestablishing a relationship with the detection dog program.
Mendonca said at the meeting that the district wants the community to know that it takes the conduct code seriously and that this detection canine program combines prevention with enforcement.
Debra DeShon, the owner/operator of the local area Interquest Detection Canines franchise, reported at the board meeting that the dogs are able to find illegal drugs, alcohol, gunpowder, and some prescription drugs. While students will be notified in advance that detection dogs will be on campus, DeShon stated that searches must be random so the specific dates of the searches will not be provided. She further stated that specific individuals or vehicles cannot be targeted.
According to the Interquest website, the dogs are trained to sniff lockers, classrooms, parking lots and any other locations within a school or business. However, dogs are prevented from sniffing people due to legal guidelines. It also states that detection canine programs are accepted as being a tool to deter the presence of drugs and other contraband; thus, contributing to school safety.
It was reported that the contract with Interquest fell well under the contract bid limit, and that the organization came highly recommended. DeShon also provided a demonstration at the meeting for the Board of Trustees of her dog Dale’s detection skills.