LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. – Opioids and their synthetic partners, like Fentanyl, aren’t just a threat to humans, but to dogs working in law enforcement too.
Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office just welcomed a new narcotics dog to its force. Deputies keeps a special spray on hand to reverse opioid overdose’s effects should Pedro, the department’s German Shepard, need it.
“His smell is so much greater than ours,” Sheriff Gene Mitchell said.
Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office hired a new deputy gifted with a sharp nose.
“If we can see it, we can make the arrest we won’t need the dog for that,” Brian Covington, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force Agent said. “But, it’s the drugs that we can’t find maybe in a closet door or under some carpet, they use their nose to find the narcotics.”
The two spent hours training for their certification to make drug busts. Though Pedro’s a deputy, he’s still a dog with instincts.
“He has a toy,” Covington said. “It’s a primitive toy but that’s all he wants is that toy. He thinks that the drugs, the smell of drugs is that toy that he’s looking for. So, he has an incredibly high drive for that toy.”
Pedro’s job does put him in dangerous situations.
“Being the size the dog is, we’re talking about a couple of grains like sand literally could be enough to overcome a dog,” Covington explained.
So, Covington keeps an opioid overdose kit in his car complete with naloxone which Covington can spray up Pedro’s nose and reverse the impact of a drug.
Covington said his most immediate concern for Pedro is the Alabama summer in the K9’s first year with the department. Fortunately, Covington’s vehicle is equipped with sophisticated technology that keeps the dog safe.
“We have heat sensors on the car so should we be in the house and the air conditioner failed on the car, the horn starts sounding, the windows drop, so we’re alerted to that situation,” Covington said. “Plus, I have an app on my phone which has the temperature sensor tied to the car.”