Cobb schools welcome drug-sniffing dog
by Lindsay Field
lfield@mdjonline.com
May 24, 2012 09:40 AM | 4526 views | 18 18 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fair Oaks Elementary students, from left, Savannah Wade, Alexis Mitchell, Alisha Mitchell and Stephanie Pedroza meet Ghost, the new campus police canine for the Cobb County School District.  Ghost is a three-year-old yellow Labrador.  STAFF/LAURA MOON.
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MARIETTA — Cobb County students will soon meet the district’s newest officer, who will be patrolling the halls on all fours.

Ghost will be the district’s new drug dog, after is predecessor died unexpectedly two weeks ago.

“He’s a certified drug dog in any state. I can take him anywhere in Cobb County,” said Officer Mike Rolfe, who has handled the district’s police dogs for 13 years. “He has his odors down, but now we need to get it all finessed. He is a police officer, the same way that I’m a police officer.”

Rolfe purchased the 3-year-old yellow lab for $3,000 for the district on Monday from a training facility in Paris, Tenn. Ghost is replacing Campo, an 8-year-old Belgian Malinois who had been with the district for about seven years. Campo died May 12.

“Campo was a Lab in a wolf’s body,” Rolfe said with a laugh. “When he passed, we decided to get back to the Labs … every kid here has seen or been around a Lab.”

James Arrowood, the district’s director of public safety, said drug dogs must be friendly to children.

“He’s in a school every day,” he said. “We can have principals that request educational programs or drug searches if they feel something is going on in the school, or we can just pop in and do random searches,”

Rolfe is responsible for caring for the drug dogs, who live at his home. “The dog’s always with him. That’s his partner,” Arrowood said.

Ghost can detect methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana in lockers, book bags or purses. Rolfe will also take him into every school in the county throughout the school year to help educate students.

“We will talk about drug use, drug abuse and the dangers of drug,” Arrowood said. “We really like to get to the younger kids because the sooner you can get to them, the sooner you can influence them in the right direction.” If he does get a scent of any illegal drugs while on a school visit, Ghost will sit, which gives Rolfe probable cause to check students’ belongings.

“We never search kids: We check kids,” he said. “Search is what you see in jails. In school systems, we check children. That eans

empty your pockets.” Rolfe said they have found drugs in an elementary school, but that is uncommon.

“Primarily, when I come over (to elementary schools), up to about fourth grade, we talk about bus safety, playground safety, strangers. I’m not talking to these children about crack cocaine or meth. It’s age-appropriate.”

Rolfe, whose been training dogs for more than 25 years, said the district has had a police dog for the last 13 years, beginning with a bomb dog named Snow. He was brought in shortly after the bombing at Columbine High School in Colorado.
Comments
(18)
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annmac
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May 25, 2012
I don't like police dogs. Everytime I see one, I see the image of the Alabama state troopers setting attack dogs on lawfully protest marching people. And then the images of the Nazi's using them to patrol prison camps. Gives me the creeps and doesn't make me feel any safer.
GMD1978
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May 25, 2012
I remember the drug dogs coming into North Cobb back in late 1970's.
Please Visit
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May 25, 2012
Please come to our school. Some fifth graders need a "Scared Straight" situation.
jp4ga
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May 25, 2012
I worked in Cobb for 11 years and NEVER once saw or heard about the drug dog coming in. Keeping it Real is right the principals don't want these dogs in the buildings. I think that dog needs to be put to work and needs to be in every school UNANNOUNCED often. Why have a dog if you are not going to use it.
LawPatrol
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May 24, 2012
Officer Mike Rolfe's statement that the dog is a Police Officer, same as Rolfe is not true. The dog has not completed training at GPOST, nor has it sworn to uphold the Laws or Ordinances of the State, County, or City. Until he does, he is nor a certified Police Officer and has no authority over anyone.
Literal
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May 29, 2012
Geez... you failed to point out the dog doesn't have a gun belt or drive a police car, too. Some how I don't think that was the point of the officer's statement about Ghost. But thank you Captain Obvious for your authoritative and definitive comment.

Makes me think of a sarcastic song which goes, "Every party has a pooper and that's why we invited you..."
Hey Hey
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May 29, 2012
LawPatrol

Why don't you know let all the kids know that there is no farm with pastures and a three legged horse that their beloved family dog went to when he got "sick." Dang man, I will guess that this was just a feel good story and the officer wasn't really implying the dog was an actual certified police officer.

Oh and make sure you bust out those Santa and Tooth Fairy rumors, for this nonsense will NOT be tolerated.
Clarification
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May 29, 2012
Thank you law patrol for your clarification. I was pulled over the other day by Ghost, the yellow lab, when he said (or barked rather) I ran a stop sign. I knew something wasn't right about the situation but couldn't place my finger on it until you just pointed that out. He's not even a real cop!!!! Don't I feel silly.
Friendly Web Editor
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May 29, 2012
@Clarification...you made the editor laugh. Well played.
anonymous
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May 24, 2012
If there isn't a big drug problem then why can't the CCSD borrow a drug dog as-needed from the CCPD? Seems like a large ongoing and redundant expense if not needed.

Or is there a big drug problem?

I'd like to know how many arrests have been made with zippy the wonder dog over the years and at which schools.

They should start
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May 24, 2012
checking with Tim Stulz
Keeping it Real
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May 24, 2012
Just a publicity stunt by the County Campus Police and school administration. The principals do not want the dog going into their schools or classrooms because he WILL locate narcotics. Thus the school will then be known as a problem school. The administrators don't want the truth known that their school has narcotics in it and sweep it under the rug. They should be proactive and have the dog checking the schools daily and eliminating it from the schools.
Absolutely
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May 24, 2012
Drug dogs should sweep the schools on a weekly basis. That would get rid of the drugs and the kids selling them.
bill stewart
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May 25, 2012
Keeping it real, I think not..
anonymous
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May 25, 2012
You could not be more wrong. Principals care about kids...but why even bother confronting this type of ignorance.

Dog lover
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May 24, 2012
RIP Campo.
John Adams
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May 25, 2012
Good story, Mike! Keep up the great work. CCSD is lucky to have both you and Ghost.
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