Updated: Apr 30
There is nothing more shocking or upsetting than to hear that children have been shot while at school. We all know there have been too many incidents, too many tragedies, and too many lives cut short through failing to stop weapons entering on to school property.
The political questions are not for this blog – and we don’t comment on the rights or wrongs of the right to carry guns. What we say is if guns are a risk – and could therefore enter school property, how are we going to manage this risk? In so doing, we look to eliminate the next Parkland or Sandy Hook, and at the very least minimize the risk of our children being killed or injured.
Vapor Wake Dog
The way we are approaching the problem is to look at school safety programs which include non-threatening security dogs as part of school life. Vapour Wake® is a proven method and system for detecting explosives and other illicit substances. Vapour Wake® working dogs are specifically trained to detect body worn explosives on a moving target (which includes the residue from bullets). Unlike traditional “bomb dogs” which are trained to sniff out static objects or people, Vapor Wake® dogs literally follow the odour given off by the illicit substance including explosive residues.
A Vapor Wake® dog consistently and effectively does what other dogs can’t: it follows an explosive target to its source in real-time while the target is in motion. Interestingly, Vapor Wake® dogs are integrated from puppies to work in high-flow pedestrian areas including schools. Because of this, they can accurately screen hundreds of people passing through an entry point in a non-intrusive way.
Vapor Wake K9 Case Study
A case study highlighting the effectiveness of Vapor Wake K9’s comes from the US, but it applies equally to the UK, or anywhere in the world – anywhere with someone who is not mentally stable walks into a school and starts shooting. Imagine a shooter carrying a gun in his backpack. He looks like a regular student going to school on a normal day. But a Vapor Wake® trained dog can smell the explosive residue on him, (or her) from the bullets. This regular student becomes a target for the dog to follow and of course, then the person and backpack are stopped and searched. Anything untoward in that backpack is going to be found and isolated before any harm comes to the school community.
Just recently a school from Noblesville, Indiana, US contacted our strategic partner regarding a shooting incident at their school. The incident has its own factual Wikipedia page (https://bit.ly/2UhM6Kk ). The parent committee asked for help in putting together a proposal. As a result, they secured $500k in funding to support a Vapor Wake K9 team at their school. As part of this proposal, our partners put together a Schools’ Capability briefing outlining what they could do for schools – and a copy of that Capability Briefing is available for download here.
So, here at Shergroup we spotted this service some time ago and we have been fortunate to link up with VWK9 through our VP of Operations, John Johnson. We are on a mission to help more schools introduce ways to stop people coming on to school property with the “men's rea” and “actus reas”, Latin for guilty intent and action (see https://bit.ly/2kNdz4M for a definition) to do harm. The culture of allowing this mass shooting to continue must be stopped. A non-threatening Labrador dog on duty with its handler can help stop these dreadful incidents. It won’t be the entire answer for the school security plan, but it is a part of the answer, and it won’t frighten or intimidate the students and teachers and staff who make up the school community.