After eight months of training in tracking, narcotics and correctional facilities, Shadow started his new job a week ago. Shadow was added to the Rockland County Sheriff K-9 Unit specifically to monitor the county correctional facility.
Sheriff Louis Falco started a new initiative in which Shadow will search the correctional facility for narcotics that may be overlooked by police officers.
“We want to make sure that that facility is contraband-free,” said Falco. “(Shadow) He’s an aggressive young dog and the handler has been on the job here for about seven years and he was a narcotics officer at one point.”
Shadow is a 2-year-old Belgium Shepherd and Chris Ford is his handler.
“We do road checks and are going to keep the correctional facility drug free,” said Falco. “Narcotics are not a huge problem, but they’ll get some things in through the mail and when they have visitors.”
Cars will be searched by Shadow as they enter the premises, as well as all visitors, gifts, mail and inmate cells. During a search, Shadow will scratch when he finds narcotics. This past weekend, ecstasy was discovered in a car of a visitor who was going to see an inmate.
One example Falco gave was magazines; sometimes a person may hide narcotics inside a magazine by gluing two pages together and while an officer does not have time to check every page, Shadow will be able to easily identify the drugs.
Also, the inmates and visitors are allowed a brief contact at the end of their visit, such as a hug and/or kiss. Sometimes narcotics are transferred during this contact, but now Shadow will inspect visitors beforehand and inmates after the visit.
Falco added that this is not an invasion of privacy as his objective is to make sure that the inmates, officers and the public are safe.
“We’re extending this to the local police agencies as well,” said Falco.
A person’s average stay that is not sentenced is about seven days, said Sheriff’s Department Capt. William Barbera.