Mikey Sniffs Out Tobacco

Each day two year old Mikey goes on duty at one of the Gulfport schools. The shepherd's handler says they believe he is the only dog in the state that is trained to sniff out tobacco, in addition to drugs and firearms, and is assigned specifically to school patrol. "If we go into a school and search a locker and we find a gun then he's served his purpose in doing that. If he finds a gun in a book bag then it might save a kid's life," says Travis Byrd, Mikey's handler.

We got to see Mikey on the job at Bayou View Middle School. Officers planted gunpowder, chewing tobacco and cigarettes in three lockers. Mikey's nose went to work, and successfully sniffed out the contraband.  Mikey lets Byrd know he's found something by calmly sitting in front of the locker. Byrd rewards him with a toy.

Officers say with more and more school violence around the country, Mikey is a great prevention tool. "So we think we have a very well rounded dog with Mikey because of the fact he can do all three of the key components that an administrator would be concerned about on campus," says Officer Alfred Sexton.

Since Mikey is around kids all the time, he is not trained to be aggressive. Byrd says, "He's real good with the kids. I take him in and I'll walk him around with him and let 'em pet him and like I said if one of 'em's scared I have 'em stand up in the corner where the dog don't go near him." Byrd says it doesn't take the kids long to realize that Mikey is not there to hurt them, but to help keep their school safe.

Mikey was born in Holland and cost six thousand dollars.  The department bought him with a  grant from the state's tobacco settlement.