KENT, Ohio (WJW) – A firearm-detecting K9 is a permanent security addition to the Kent City School District.
K9 Matous is the latest K9 to join the Kent Police Department. The two-year-old yellow Labrador from Croatia is stationed full-time at the middle and high school working to detect guns to prevent tragedy before it occurs.
“He seems custom-made for this job at Kent city schools,” said his handler and School Resource Officer Dominic Poe.
Poe said Matous can detect dangers he cannot, helping to bridge gaps in school security.
“We’ve trained him in several odors of firearms so smokeless powders, black powders, guns that have been fired recently, the ammo,” said Poe.
His arrival, according to the school district’s superintendent, was the result of careful planning to increase security without allowing teachers to bring weapons into the classroom.
Kent Police purchased Matous for $5,500 the police chief said. The school district paid for the dog’s unique training as a therapy dog as well.
“It’s obviously a new program and new concept overall in law enforcement, but we’re really excited about it and think it’s going to provide us a great opportunity to provide a safe environment and interact with kids better at schools,” said Kent Police Chief Nicholas Shearer.
On the job for less than a month, the school resource officer said he has noticed a difference with students being more vulnerable and willing to address concerns.
“I’ve got kids that come to the office on a daily basis to see him,” said Poe. “Teachers will call me and say, ‘Hey I’ve got a kid they’ve got something going on right now and they’re really upset.'”
“It’s like flipping a switch,” said George Joseph the district superintendent. “When he’s working, he’s working, but you flip that switch to therapy dog and he’s on the ground and you can rub his belly.”
Poe called his new partner a blessing and said he is looking forward to making a positive impact on students.