HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Police Dog Visits Schools As Part Of Drug Awareness
Pubdate: Wed, 17 Apr 2002
Source: Paris Star (CN ON)
Contact:  2002 Paris Star
Author: Melinda Haw
Bookmark: (Drug Education)
Bookmark: (Youth)


The skilled nose of a police dog impressed and educated students who 
attended a mock drug search assembly last week. Gunner and his handler OPP 
Constable Larry Plummer visited several of the County's elementary schools 
in conjunction with the awareness program Values, Peers and Influences, (VIP).

The mock drug search performed by Gunner, a three year old German shepherd 
police dog and his handler 12 year OPP veteran Constable Larry Plummer, was 
a follow up to a presentation made by community services officer Constable 
Tom Reansbury about the dangers of drugs. Cons. Reansbury conducts the OPP 
awareness program VIP which is aimed primarily at grade six students. The 
program educates the children on pertinent issues that they face such as 
drugs, bullying and youth and the law.

During the visits Cons. Reansbury shows pictures of commonly used drugs 
like marijuana, hashish, cocaine and ectasy tablets, explains the dangers 
of the drugs and answers any questions the students may have.

"We have a frank discussion about the dangers of drugs. It is important 
they know the differences and are familiar with the drugs," explained Cons. 

"There are no dumb questions. I get to know the students at a young age and 
they learn to talk to me. When they get older they're not as nervous around 
police officers," he continued.

Following the mock search where Gunner successfully located planted 
marijuana and hashish, Cons. Plummer answered a multitude of questions from 
students concerning the training and use of police dogs. He explained that 
Gunner is one of 25 dogs employed by the OPP for search purposes.

In addition to searching for drugs, Gunner is also used to track criminals 
or help locate missing persons. While the OPP use a variety of sources to 
find a suitable dog, Cons. Plummer told the students that the German 
shepherd breed is the most commonly used because of their desire and 
ability to work and their strong retrieval instinct.

Search dogs are on duty 24 hours a day and according to Cons. Plummer are 
generally retired after 8 or 9 years of service. To date Cons. Reansbury 
has visited six of the 18 school's in the County with the VIP program and 
added that later in the year he will make a "more in depth" power point 
presentation to grade eight students.
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