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Sheriff, K-9 units visit IHS for anti-drug event

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Chilton County Sheriff’s Office and the Clanton Police Department K-9 units teamed up for presentations at Isabella High School on Nov. 1.

During the presentation to the high school and middle school students, CCSO School Security Resource Officer William “Billy” Scarbrough and CPD Cpt. David Clackley demonstrated how the police dogs work.

Sheriff John Shearon said Scarbrough uses police dog Shep to patrol the school for drugs and to keep them out of the school.

“Their nose is like a 100 times stronger than a human nose,” Scarbrough said.

He gave the example of a human being able to smell soup, but a dog can smell each of the soup’s ingredients.

“Drugs put out certain odors, and the dogs follow that scent,” Scarbrough said. “… All he is ever looking for is his toy. We train him to believe that his toy smells like the drug.”

Clackley and Shep demonstrated how a dog looks for drugs. Scarbrough said Shep has not found any drugs on the school’s campus.

“If you bring it, we will find it,” he said.

Then, Clackley and Max demonstrated some bite situations and how Clackley gives commands to Max when going after criminals.  (However, since Max is often at community events, he is not certified to be a bite dog.)

“Technically, he is a utility dog,” Clackley said. “… He knows how to bite. He has been trained to bite. With one bite, he could actually break both of the bones in your upper arm is he wanted to.”

Max primarily does narcotics and other tracking.

Shearon warned students about the negative impacts of illegal drug use, highlighting how it can ruin their lives.

“We don’t want to be followers,” Shearon said. “We want to be a leader.”

He said those who use drugs or sell them are “really losers that’s what they are” not leaders.

“Drugs that are out there now pretty, much everything is laced with fentanyl … your first time doing that drug may be your last time doing that drug,” Shearon said. “That stuff will kill you.”

Many students raised their hands when the sheriff asked who had been impacted because their family member or friends were on drugs.

He said using illegal drugs will always lead to jail time or death. Shearon emphasized that illegal drug use would also destroy any chance the students had of fulfilling their dreams and would likely lead to other crimes to keep up the habit.

He mentioned there were people he had pulled over that looked like they had aged 20 years in two years after doing meth.

“That’s not what you want,” Shearon said. “It changes you. It changes your personality — everything about you changes. You might not see it, but your friends, your family, everybody sees it.”

He said drugs becomes the main focus for anyone using drugs and “dictates what you will do in life.”

“If you have a friend that is going this direction, talk to them, reach out to them,” Shearon said.

He said make sure they know someone cares about them.

Shearon emphasized that each student’s decisions would impact the rest of their life. He encouraged students that they can could be whatever they wanted to be, if they “put forth a lot of effort and do the right things in life.”

He told students to stay away from those involved with drugs.

The police dog demonstration and speech by Shearon were a part of the IHS observance of Red Ribbon Week, which focuses on helping students stay drug free.