By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer
Brad Vaughn, a newly certified canine deputy and school resource officer at Morgan County schools, completed a 180-hour program offered through the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office to handle a yellow Labrador Retriever trained to sniff out illegal narcotics.
Vaughn was paired with a two-year-old Yellow Lab named Duke from the Alabama Canine Law Enforcement Officers’ Training Center in Northport, Alabama.
Duke is now both Vaughn’s family pet and coworker. Duke accompanies Vaughn to work each day in case they are called in to search for illegal narcotics. “I think this is a great service to the community, to try and help out with any kind of drug narcotic situation that we might have,” said Vaughn.
“Duke has been trained to give cues when he smells narcotics,” said Vaughn. According to Vaughn, those cues include sitting, standing, staring, and laying down.
“The training also entails teaching the handler how to read the dog, when the dog senses odors for drugs and how to determine between a false and true alert.” The dog has been trained to sit, stare, stand and lay. That’s the indication that narcotics has been detected.
The training was given by Trooper First Class Ray Malone of the Georgia State Patrol. Vaughn and Duke have been called out on four narcotic searches, three of the calls were roadside vehicle inspections, and one was a random classroom inspection that is part of the school’s protocol. No narcotics were found in any of the inspections. Vaughn, and Duke, work with the school administration and the kids. “If they have any problems outside of the school administration’s authority, that’s when we come in,” said Vaughn.
Vaughn has been a school resource officer for the last five years. Before that, he was a road deputy for three years. For Vaughn, Duke is a welcome partner to his profession.
“I’ve always admired the drug dogs. Dogs have always been a part of my life, since I grew up on a farm in Madison. I’m glad to have Duke with me. He is a good dog and a lot of fun to be around.” “Duke is with me 24/7,” said Vaughn. “And I love that.”