Article published August 21, 2005
Dogs sniff out drugs at jailBy TERESA KILLIAN, Staff Writer
Cpl. Ron Garrett’s mind wandered during the week he spent investigating a tip last year that drugs were hidden in the jail.
If only the Spartanburg County Detention Center had a drug dog all its own ...
“He could find it in seconds,” Garrett said.
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office drug dogs investigate the facility when requested -- as available.
But the excitement about creating a jail K-9 team kept growing until eight months ago, when Garrett and Sgt. Eric Woody drove 18 hours to Texas to pick up Flicko, a bird dog, and Max, a chocolate Labrador.
The two-dog team grew to three when a German shepherd, Raco, transferred from Woodruff.
After earning certification last week, the K-9s joined a celebration Thursday complete with a plaque for Jail Director Larry Powers and a chance to strut their stuff.
The dogs took turns sniffing around a break area to “Find it!” until sitting or scratching a cabinet where drugs were hidden.
They’ve already made multiple “unplanned” discoveries.
On Raco’s first tour of the jail, he scratched on some illegal drugs hidden in the breath-analyzer room. Officers used a flashlight and did some craning to find marijuana left there.
The handlers expect to bring the dogs to work about twice a week to get used to the detention center and the people there.
Meanwhile, at their handlers’ homes, they’re already feeling like part of the family.
Flicko has finally stopped barking at Garrett’s horses, rides in the truck and plays ball with his daughter. He’ll jump in the pool, too.
Max doesn't realize his new “roommate” -- Woody’s Great Dane, Luke -- is four times his size.
And Raco’s neighbor calls Cpl. Tyler Leonard to remind him to give the dog water or to let him know for the dog’s sake that a thunderstorm is approaching.
They keep on training, too, though it's not clear who is doing the most work sometimes.
“The dogs are training us,” Woody said.
Teresa Killian can be reached at 562-7216 or email@example.com.