DECATUR – The kids at the Boys and Girls Club of Decatur got a visit from the Decatur Police Department on Tuesday, and they brought along their K-9 companions.
DPD has four K-9 units, and three of them paid a visit to the Club to show off what the dogs can do. Aside from being a fun show for the kids, Detective Chad Larner says the visit served another purpose.
“We look to these kids to eventually be the ones who police this community,” says Larner. “So it’s vitally important to reach out to the youth and let them know their choices now could have an impact on where they end up in the future.”
Larner says you might think the dogs are German Shepherds, but they are really Belgian Malinois, as DPD hasn’t had German Shepherds since around 1992. He says they performed a routine drug search as well as an attack drill.
“The drug sniffing, whether it be vehicle, school locker, or residence, is a thing we use the dogs for regularly,” says Larner. “In a use of force situation, like the dog catching someone, it has to meet certain criteria. Both drills are things we use the dogs for, but it goes beyond that.”
B&G Club Executive Director Bruce Jeffery says it is also important that the police interact with the youth and have them understand that police aren’t bad.
“Chief Sweeney and I felt that we could do better with developing police and community interaction,” says Jeffery. “The Club serves more youth after school than any other entity in this community, so I wanted to get some of the guys to not only come and hang out, but develop a positive relationship.”