Safety Tips by Criminal Justice Students and EOD Trained Dogs Demonstration

Posted by on November 18, 2014

If you saw something out of the ordinary that looked suspicious, do you know how you would handle it? If a dangerous situation took place at work or school, would you know what to do?

criminal justice

Danielle Pickett, Officer Scharber with Rusty, Stephen Chan, Sieara Washington, Officer Tinucci with Izzy, and Joe Vanasse

In an attempt to ensure that members of the campus community at Minnesota School of Business-Brooklyn Center do, in fact, know how to handle these types of situations, students in the Security: Private, Local, State and Federal class gave a presentation containing several pieces of advice for their applied learning project.

Stephen Chan, Danielle Pickett and Sieara Washington are all students in criminal justice program chair, Joe Vanasse’s class. “I saw an opportunity for my students to complete an all-school safety presentation, and my class jumped at the chance,” Joe said.

Stephen did the first part of the presentation, which included a short video about an active shooter in a workplace. He then went through several tips for staying safe, saying, “Never treat situations as a joke. If you see something, say something.”

He also went over how to stay safe in a parking lot. “Stay alert when you leave a building to head to your car. If you can, it’s actually best to leave with a group. Always be aware of your surroundings, too. As far as your phone goes, it can wait. The only reason you should have your phone ready is if you have an emergency number ready to dial. If you are simply playing on your phone or trying to send a text, your guard is down, and you become an easier target.”

After Stephen’s informational presentation, Danielle and Sieara led a short activity with a scenario. Students were split into one group, and staff/faculty were split into a second group. Each group was given a situation and needed to discuss the proper steps to take should the event ever happen on campus.

“I was impressed with my students’ professionalism and their willingness to lead this training for the school,” Joe commented. “While we never want to be in a dangerous situation, it’s always best to be prepared for one. I knew my students would be capable of giving out this information to their campus community. They did a great job.”

Thanks to Joe’s networking in the criminal justice community, after the students presented, the group had the privilege of hearing from two Metro Transit police officers who work in a K-9 unit. The dogs in the unit are specifically trained as EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) dogs. The team is made up of four officers and four dogs, which are all Labradors.

Officer Scott Tinucci and Officer Joshua Scharber explained that the dogs are toy-driven versus food-driven, and that they spend hours training with more than thirty different odors. Officer Tinucci said, “Our dogs don’t apprehend suspects. They are trained to look for bombs in unattended packages, backpacks, schools, businesses and so on. People call the unit to check things out. If we feel like the area is not safe, we call the bomb squad who comes in with more specialized equipment.”

criminal justice

Izzy and Rusty

To show off the skills of ten-year-old Izzy, a female yellow Lab, and three-year-old Rusty, a male brown Lab, the officers hid a scent in the room for the dogs to find. Both dogs found it almost immediately and were then given their favorite toys to play with.

Officer Scharber commented, “The dogs work hard when sniffing. If we were in a bigger building checking out multiple rooms, the dogs would actually need a break, or we would need multiple dogs to help out.”

Following the demonstration, everyone was able to visit with the officers and the dogs. According to Joe, “This type of presentation is exactly what people need to see and hear. Knowledge is power.”

Thank you to the students for presenting information in an effort to keep the campus community safe. A very special thank you to Officer Tinucci, Officer Scharber, Izzy and Rusty for spending time at the MSB-Brooklyn Center campus!

To learn more about the Metro Transit K-9 Unit, check out a recent story written about them on the Metro Transit Blog.


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