Lee Schools to use K9 to sniff out drugs, guns
NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Lee County School District will begin using a drug and gun powder sniffing dog to make sure nothing illegal is brought on campus.
"We are going to be working on a full-time basis," said Superintendent Dr. Joseph Burke, "to assure that our schools are safe."
At the request of the school district, the sheriff's office is bringing in Morgan-Kali, a 2.5 year old black lab, who is trained to smell gun power and a variety of drugs.
Kali, and her handler, will conduct random inspections at elementary, middle and high schools throughout the county.
"The key is they won't know which campus she's going to be on at any given time," said Sheriff Mike Scott.
While dogs have been used in the past, Kali and her handler, are going to be assigned to the school district full-time searching classrooms, lockers and cars in the parking lot.
Kali will be looking for illegal weapons and drugs. She's trained to smell marijuana, cocaine, heroine, methamphetamine and Ecstasy.
"I want to send a message to that five or two percent that want to do wrong in our school district," said school board member Don Armstrong. "That it will not be tolerated."
To show off Kali's skills, deputies hid a handgun and a bag of marijuana inside two lockers at North Fort Myers High School.
It took Kali just a few seconds to find the hidden stash as she jumped to alert deputies.
Burke referenced the recent increase in crime. So far this year there have been 15 murders in Fort Myers. Burke says keeping kids safe at school is a top priority.
"Certainly, weapons has been a concern throughout the community with the gun violence that has occurred," said Burke. "So, obviously, we're going to be vigilant about that as well."
As for privacy concerns, Scott pushed back.
"The courts have ruled on this time and time again," said Scott. "And I'll say this to that: People who don't have anything to worry about, don't have anything to worry about."
A Lee County couple donated the money to pay for Kali. The dog will primarily focus on middle and high schools.
In addition to searching for illegal drugs and weapons, Kali can work with special needs students, a district spokesperson said.
Kali will put her nose to work when school starts in two weeks.