The Darlington County Sheriff's Office now has a new tool in its efforts to fight illegal contraband behind bars.
About three weeks ago, the jail was given a golden retriever named “Skip,” who previously worked in the narcotics division of the Darlington County Sheriff's Office before his handler took on a different position.
The jail gladly took on the more than three-year-old canine, who had already had specialized narcotics training and certifications.
“We have contraband come into the jail, like all the other facilities…mainly it seems like marijuana and pills and different types of narcotics as well as tobacco products and things like that, they (inmates) have ingenious ways of trying to sneak it in,” said Darlington County Detention Center Director, Maj. Mitch Stanley.
“We always needed a narcotics dog at the jail but because of funding, it was something that we wanted but couldn't necessarily acquire at the time…but inmates are aware that we have the capabilities now,” Stanley said.
“Skip” and his new handler at the jail, Sgt. Ronald Purvis, now make daily rounds and look for anything suspicious.
In his first couple of weeks on the job, “Skip” already sniffed out marijuana in one inmate's cell.
“He (Skip) is the first person I want to see when I get to work and he's the last person I want to see when I leave….My theory was, if we don't ever find anything, at least they know we're here and at least they know we're looking,” Purvis said of his efforts to fight contraband with “Skip.”
Currently the canine is trained to find and alert to narcotics, but jail officials hope to also train him to alert to tobacco and even homemade alcohol products.