October 29, 2009

A dog named Hawk

By Stu Merry, BHG News Service

The nose knows. Students at Garrison High School got a big surprise Monday afternoon. McLean County Sheriff’s Department authorities conducted an unannounced drug search of the school and grounds. Sheriff Don Charging alerted me about the search this past Friday. I was privileged to be invited along. The idea to tag along was twofold. I’ve been anxious to do a story introducing the county’s new drug dog, Hawk. Secondly, following a random search of the Max School a few weeks ago, staff at the Independent thought it would make for an interesting story to see what takes place during a search. Boy were they right. What an eye-opening experience. Searches of county schools are unannounced. Only a handful of school officials are notified – and for good reason. The element of surprise was priceless. The officers rolled up to the school at about 1:20 p.m. Entering the school were deputies JD Young Bird, JR. Kerzmann, and Hawk. Covering the parking lot was Sheriff Don Charging and Deputy Jeff Butman. Officers told Superintendent Steve Brannan to lock down the school. He quickly obliged. Virtually no one was allowed in or out of the building or classrooms for the next two-plus hours. The high school parking lot was the first to be searched. Kerzmann, who is the dog’s handler, and Hawk, slowly wove their way around and in between the vehicles. One by one, each vehicle’s exterior was searched. At the urging of repeated commands of "check here, check here" and "where’s the dope," Hawk would tend to the task at hand. Don’t let the dog’s friendly demeanor fool you. When he’s at ease, he’s at ease. When he’s on the job, Hawk means business.



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