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BOWLING GREEN — The newest police recruit at Bowling Green State University has four legs.
Ohio Homeland Security presented a bomb-sniffing dog to BGSU police in front of about a dozen people Wednesday in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. The explosive-detection canine — a Belgian shepherd named Jerry — is part of a pilot program intended to improve safety on college campuses and in surrounding areas.
Jerry is one of three dogs being funded by re-purposed federal grants from Ohio Homeland Security. Purchasing and training the dogs, as well as providing their veterinary care and equipment, costs $12,767. The other two dogs are stationed at Youngstown State University and The Ohio State University.
“Jerry will save lives,” said Ohio Department of Public Safety Director John Born, who explained the dogs are intended to be a “preventative measure” against violent attacks. He cited the Boston Marathon bombing as an example of the kind of incident he hoped they could deter.
Though the dogs will primarily work at their respective campuses, they can also aid local law enforcement officials if assistance is necessary.
Jerry is the first police dog at BGSU, said university police Chief Monica Moll. He’s also the first dog for the family of Lt. John Stewart, Jerry’s handler. When not shadowing Lieutenant Stewart at work, Jerry lives at home with the Stewart family.
Lieutenant Stewart’s wife and three children were all present at Wednesday’s event.
Many young people will have the opportunity to meet Jerry soon. BGSU president Mary Ellen Mazey said she was eager to make sure everyone knows Jerry, introducing them to the dog and demonstrating his value to the community.
Mr. Born hopes the program can expand to universities across the state if the pilot effort proves successful.
A bomb scare last May occurred a short distance from the BGSU student union. Another campus building was evacuated in 2010 after a suspicious package was found.
Contact Marissa Medansky at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6368.