OXFORD, MS (WLOX) - Campus police are common are many universities, but the new officer at the University of Mississippi stands out in the crowd.
Not because he has a booming voice, and not because he has a fast car with flashy lights - it's because he's a dog.
On Sept. 6, the university swore in K-9 Officer Dios. The four feet tall, one year old Belgian Malinois will spend 80 percent of his time with designated handler Officer Justin Watson, working with the community, and the other 20 percent training and responding to police calls.
"As far as our department, we are excited for the K-9 team to return to campus," University Police Department Chief Tim Potts said in an interview with Ole Miss News. "While Dios will certainly provide the ability to detect narcotics where humans fail, Dios and Officer Watson will do so much more for the university."
Dios and Watson will be on duty each week on Tuesday-Friday, from 3 p.m. to midnight or 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. In addition to answer drug complaints, Dios will also visit residence hall lobbies and athletic events.
But even more important than sniffing out contraband, officials have a larger goal in mind for the four-legged officer.
"Students will be drawn to him, then, in the process of interacting with him they will have the opportunity to learn about our campus polices related to drugs," said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs. "The core of UPD's mission is to enhance safety – that begins with knowledge."
To learn more about the Dios, click here.