SUGARCREEK, Ohio (WJW)– The Garaway Local School District in Sugarcreek is among the first in the country with an active shooter detection dog trained to prevent a school shooting.
Sailor, a Belgium Malinois, is trained to detect gunfire, and sniff out firearms and ammunition at the Tuscarawas County district home to about 1,200 students, according to district superintendent Jim Millet.
“We’re the first in Ohio to have a dog like this. The second in the country,” Millet said.
He said Sailor, acquired from Skool Dogs Inc., is a priceless addition to the school’s security.
“Cost $25,000. We got a $10,000 discount so $15,000 was the cost. We did not have to use local tax funds for that,” said Millet who explained a grant funded the dog.
Although Sailor is in training, he is already zeroing in on potential threats. During a drill Tuesday, he located a gun inside a student’s locker. The gun was placed there prior to the drill as a test for Sailor.
“It’s something that’s never been used inside a school for the safety of the kids,” said Joe Nick, Skool Dogs Inc. founder. “We were always there too late. I thought that if we could invent something that would get there or be there when, God forbid, this incident took place.”
According to Nick, Skool Dogs is a patent-pending specialized dog that can engage an active shooter. Nick will be in the district for the next several days making sure Sailor is equipped to handle the task ahead.
Jason Wallick, a recently-appointed district school safety official and former school teacher. will be Sailor’s handler.
“Anytime there is active gunfire in the building, he will drag me to the scene,” Wallick said. “I will release him and he would apprehend the shooter.”
District officials expect Sailor will be able to serve 10 years. Millet said an area veterinary clinic donated ongoing care for Sailor.