LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - There's a new Lee County Sheriff's Deputy in town. She's two years old, super friendly and has a highly trained nose for sniffing out illegal substances that can derail a student's success.
K9 Deputy Charlee is the newest addition to the Lee County School Resource Officer Division. On Monday morning when Lee County students head back to school they will meet K9 officer Charlee.
Her handler, Deputy Rob Alexander, will be in the different schools, five days a week with Charlee. The Lee County School Board spent around
$9,000 on the black lab and her training. The superintendent says Charlee is a proactive step in detecting and deterring drugs in the classroom.
"To say kids don't use drugs or have access to drugs is burying your head in the sand. I'm not saying our kids have them or use them, but this is just another way to help children make choices not to, don't bring it to school," said superintendent James McCoy.
Deputy Alexander says Charlee is a friendly face who adores attention, and students will be encouraged to interact with her. He says Charlee can only strengthen the relationship school deputies have with their students.
"She is very friendly with them and they are very friendly with her, and that gives me the opportunity to build a relationship with some of the children," said Deputy Alexander.
Charlee is trained to detect a variety of street drugs including marijuana, crack, cocaine and meth. She can also detect prescription medication.
Superintendent James McCoy says while detecting and deterring drug activity is her number one objective, however almost as important is the positive interaction she will have with the students.
Dr. McCoy is an animal lover, and he believes Charlee will keep children safe by keeping drugs out of school. He also says that research shows interacting with a friendly dog like Charlee can positively impact a child's mental health, and help with academic success.
Because Charlee works full time in the schools, there will be more drug searches.There are new policies and procedures in place if Charlee does detect a substance, and how school leaders and deputies will handle the situation.