On Friday, February 05, 2021, the Customs Drug Detector Dog Unit conducted their Outreach and Drug Awareness Program at Ngerbeched Headstart in the morning and later visiting Koror Elementary School (KES) early that afternoon. At Ngerbeched Headstart, there were about 50 students that received a surprise visit from our K9 unit.
As the Officers explained, the K9 dogs are able to search for Drugs and Explosives and our dogs have the most acute sense of smell that allows them to detect the presence of drugs and pinpoint their location. According to Mayer Julius, the Officer in Charge of the Customs Drug Detector Dog Unit, we are here today as part of a joint effort in our fight against drugs. Our purpose in visiting the schools is to show our youth and demonstrate to the kids that we are ready to respond to any illegal drugs coming into Palau.
It was really exciting to interact with the kids through our presentation and with such commitment and the addition of new K9 dogs recently acquired from the United States through US funding, the working canine team has become the best tool available to detect and apprehend persons and seize cargo of controlled substances and other contraband.
Later that afternoon, the Customs Drug Detector Dog Unit conducted their presentation and demonstration at KES with about 200 students from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade class.
On Friday, February 12, 2020, another presentation was conducted at KES for the 4th – 8th grade students with about 400 students. According to Julius, the students were really excited to see the dogs in action. It’s our responsibility to educate students about the negative aspects and use of drugs, especially methamphetamine, and how Customs and Law Enforcement are able to utilize our drug detector dogs to detect and locate drugs as part of their responsibilities at the Borders. The use of our Bomb dog during such demonstration was also exciting as the students enjoyed and cheered when the handlers and their dogs worked as a team to search and locate the drugs and bomb that were hidden.
According to Juilius, we are very proud of our dogs and take great pride in our work. It’s a hard job but our dogs are well trained to alert the location of a drug scent by sitting down, but it takes both the handler and their assigned dog to work as a team in order to alert or identify drugs based on a scent present. It isn’t just about how sensitive a dog’s nose is or how well-trained a dog is. There are factors affecting the interaction between a dog and a handler that can impact the dog’s performance as well,” said Julius. But, through regular and constant training, we can overcome the problems when it comes to detecting drugs as traffickers keep changing their methods of smuggling.
Overall, it was fun and energetic today as we interacted with the students. Next week our plan is to return to KES and target as many schools as possible this year and we hope to have a positive impact on our youth.