CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

New K-9 dog ready to put the bite on guns in Granite schools

Aug 31, 2023, 7:00 PM | Updated: Sep 1, 2023, 9:03 am

Image of Bolt, the Granite School District's new K-9 officer. He helps sniff out guns on campus....

Bolt, the Granite School District's new K-9 officer. He helps sniff out guns on campus. (Granite School District)

(Granite School District)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Granite School District adopted a German Shorthaired Pointer named Bolt to find firearms in schools. The dog doesn’t sit at the front door of the schools and sniff incoming students for weapons. Bolt can smell gunpowder and its residue.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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 District Spokesman Ben Horsley told KSL NewsRadio’s Dave and Dujanovic that pre-pandemic, the district saw weapon violations in the single digits. But after COVID-19, he said there were 24 violations district-wide in a year.

He said students bring weapons to school — not for mass shootings — but for fights or for self-protection.

 

Sniffing for guns in schools

Horsley explained that Bolt is a district-wide police dog used when there is information about weapons at schools, even in parking lots. The K-9 cannot just randomly search lockers searching for any contraband.

“He’s a police dog, and police have limited search capacity. There has to be probable cause,” he said.

Horsley said under certain circumstances and armed with the right information, Bolt has found firearms in vehicle on school grounds.

“A lot of times, we do see kids bring weapons into the parking lot areas,” Horsley said. 

Not ‘a lot of knives’

“This is just obviously guns, correct? I mean, he’s not trained to find knives or anything else. Bombs?” Dave asked.

“I don’t know how that would function or work with a knife or something. But to be honest, we haven’t found a lot of knives in schools as of late. It has been guns, and that is what’s frightening. And that’s what needs to stop,” Horsley stressed.

Dave said he is uncomfortable around dogs and wanted to know how students who are the same react to Bolt.

Horsley said Bolt is not a therapy dog. When searches are conducted by police at district schools students are not present.

With all training included, Bolt cost “several” thousands of dollars, he said, adding the expense was “very fiscally responsible.”

Related:

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New K-9 dog ready to put the bite on guns in Granite schools