Local Law Enforcement Encourage Students to Stay Away from Drugs

Andrews Academy hosted three presenters for a special assembly focused on drugs and how they affect both one’s life and body.

Jerrett Pate, Captain of the Andrews University Campus Safety, with his trusty canine, Wyatt, kicked off the  program. Jerrett said that the facility where he works decided to get a canine in 2008 and were soon looking for the right type of dog.  Only dogs with specific temperaments can be police dogs. Wyatt, a German Shepherd, was trained in German, but knows a few commands in English. He trained with Jerrett at Mid-Michigan Kennels-Police K9 training facility where he learned to recognize narcotics by smell. This type of training involves placing a toy or a treat of some type in a box with the narcotics.  This then trains the dog to believe he will be rewarded if he finds the narcotics.

Pate also talked about another dog he knows that was trained to be a bomb dog.  Bomb dogs are trained to sit next to a trigger or point to the bomb. Wyatt was trained a little differently: scratching and barking when he found drugs. After further training,  he points and puts his paw on the area that contains the drugs. This is helpful because, as Pate explained,  if the dog scratches at the area containing the drugs, property damage can occur. Pate also told us that police dogs must go back for re-certification every year.

Dr. John Rorabeck, chief analyst of the Berrien County Forensic Laboratory, presented after Pate and  said that according to a recent study that appeared in the October issue of  National Geographic, teen brains are getting better at what they need to do. New evidence indicates that the teen brain is more developed than previously thought.

The final speaker was Rojelio Castillo, Operations Lieutenant at AU’s Office of Campus Safety. He told of personal experiences in different fields of police work and the military.  He clearly had the background and experience to assure students that the best plan is to stay away from drugs.  He also reassured students that the police aren’t out to get them, but simply want to do their part to ensure a safe, healthy environment for the public.

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