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Murray Journal

Viewmont students learn how police dog helps to get drugs off streets

Dec 01, 2023 11:41AM ● By Julie Slama

Murray City Police K9 Officer Brian Bybee demonstrates how police service dog Argos can find drugs hidden in an orange cone during Viewmont Elementary’s Red Ribbon Week. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Viewmont Elementary fifth-grader Brynli Schmeling knows a bit about police service dog, Argos, who in on his 8th year on the job.

“He can sniff about 300 million times greater than we can so he’s very good at smelling drugs; he’ll bark when he finds them,” she said. “The police dog is a German Shepherd-Belgium Malinois mix and he’s very aggressive when his handler tells him in German to seek out the bad guy. It was cool to see him find the drugs and looked to his owner to see what to do next; that was my favorite part.”

Before Argos put on a demonstration of finding the hidden stash in an orange cone in the front of the multi-purpose room, Murray Police K9 Officer Brian Bybee explained why police dogs are critical to searches.

“We use dogs for a law enforcement because they have incredible noses,” he said. “The way we see the world is with our eyes. We can see everything going on so we can comprehend it. But the way they see the world is through their noses. They can sniff things that we don’t even smell. If we were to spray perfume in here, not only could Argos smell the perfume, but he could tell you every single ingredient that is inside that perfume. That’s how good their noses are. So, we trained them to find drugs because drugs are really bad and the more drugs we can get off the streets, the safer people can be.”

While he led Argos to several orange cones, the dog quickly identified the cone with the hidden object.

“Argos is not only trained to find drugs, but he’s also trained to find and apprehend and bite bad guys. He doesn’t try to hurt them. He just tries to tackle them and then hold them until I get the bad guy to put in jail,” Bybee said.

While Brynli was fascinated by Argo’s search, other Viewmont students loved when Argos held onto his toy as Bybee grabbed the toy’s handles and swung the dog around like a helicopter to show the dog’s grip. 

“Argos has a powerful jaw; his bite force is 350 pounds per square inch and his teeth are built into his jaw so we’re able to do special things that other dogs can’t do,” he said, warning students not to try playing helicopter at home with their pets.

Argus started his training when he was eight weeks old. When he was about a year and a half, Argos started as a police officer. Bybee said the dog is nearing retirement.

Argos lives at home with Bybee, eats regular pet food and is treated as a normal pet although “he is absolutely a spoiled dog and has a better life than any other dog except for my little mini Golden Doodle,” Argos’ handler said, receiving laughs from the schoolchildren.

Brynli learned another thing.

“Don’t do drugs, and if someone offers you a drug, say no and walk away,” she said.

That was the point Bybee was making to the students during the school’s Red Ribbon Week. 

“It’s important for them to understand the dangers of what they may be facing as they become adults,” he said. “Some of the decisions that they’re going to have to make and having a preparedness for making those decisions beforehand makes it that much easier.”

Bybee shared with the students Red Ribbon Week’s history when in the mid-1980s, parents and youth across the country were angered after the death of Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique (Kiki) Camarena so they chose to wear red ribbons to symbolize their commitment to raise awareness of the destruction caused by drugs. Now, schools use Red Ribbon to serve as an opportunity to educate youth in drug-prevention activities.

“We honor Agent Camarena for the sacrifice he made as an officer,” Bybee said. “Another way we honor him, is our pledge and commitment not to do drugs.” λ