Drug dog ‘Rocky’ teaches

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 26, 2000

valuable lesson at GES


Staff Writer

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Oct. 25, 2000 10 PM

GOSHEN ­ Rocky paid a visit to Goshen Elementary School Wednesday morning.

This visit wasn’t made by the muscle-bound action hero, rather, it was the drug-sniffing K-9 from the Troy Police Department who entertained the youngsters.

Officer Stephen Dukes, who is Rocky’s handler, put the Holland-trained dog to the test during a Red Ribbon Week assembly.

Rocky was put through the drill of locating hidden drugs and thrilled the young crowd by locating the three hidden plastic bags containing cocaine and marijuana.

"Rocky’s job at the police department is to find hidden drugs," Lt. David Johnson told the students.

"People who are in the drug business, hide drugs," Johnson said, adding Rocky can smell drugs even if they’re buried underneath dirt or wrapped in something.

"He’s really valuable to us," Johnson said.

And, unlike the officers, Rocky only gets "paid" with a chewed-up piece of PVC pipe, which is hard to take away from the 4-year-old dog who takes his commands in Dutch.

Although the children didn’t seem all that surprised that he found the drugs, a few eyebrows raised with Dukes told them Rocky is worth about $3,500. Plus, he comes from a long line of drug dogs.

"This dog was born into this job," Johnson said of the dog who began obedience training when he was only 6 months old and continues his training every day.

"He’s fairly smart so it doesn’t take long to train him," Dukes said.

In addition to showing off Rocky, Johnson and Dukes encouraged the students not to use drugs.

"You are responsible for what goes into your body," Johnson said. "Drugs are going to hurt you."

He told the students about the drug problem and how each of them is "a soldier in that war" on drugs.

"Every week is Drug Awareness Week for us," Johnson said.

That was also the sentiment expressed by Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas.

Some of Thomas’ men traveled around the county with Alabama State Trooper pilot K.D. Helton, who graduated from Pike Liberal Arts School.

The state helicopter made Red Ribbon Week stops at Banks Primary School, Banks Junior High School, Pike County Elementary School, Pike Liberal Arts School, Goshen Elementary School and Covenant Christian High School.

"We’re glad to be a part of Red Ribbon Week," Thomas said of the valuable time deputies have to talk about the dangers of drug use and show students the helicopter, which is used to fight the war on drugs.

"If we can deter these younger generations away from drugs, it makes our job, and the jobs of those who follow us, a lot easier," Thomas said.