KILGORE — There will be a new Kilgore Bulldog next fall, and it might be a Labrador retriever.
Or a team that will adopt a dog to be Kilgore ISD’s kid-friendly canine officer might luck out and find a clever bulldog at the Longview Animal Care and Adoption Center. Whatever breed a team of trainers selects during the summer, Kilgore students will meet a new cop on the beat this coming fall.
That’s under an agreement for on-campus drug detection with the Kilgore Police Department, in addition to the three Student Resource Officers the department furnishes to Kilgore ISD’s five campuses.
“KPD has agreed to pay for the dog, the training, everything,” Assistant Superintendent Richard Nash told trustees at their board meeting Monday night. “It is (for) a no-bite, friendly dog where we can actually train them in what we want them to detect.”
Student Resource Officer Clint Johnson will be trained alongside the dog once it is identified. He said the breed likely will be a Labrador or a pointer, though trustees indicated a bulldog is the Bulldogs’ first choice.
“We’re going to avoid any breed that can be intimidating to the students,” Johnson said.
Nash told the board it would take four weeks to train both the dog and Johnson, who has not undergone canine certification.
Trustee Trey Hattaway said the dog’s drug detection function will discourage illegal drug abuse at all levels.
“You’re doing preventative maintenance at the lower (grade) levels and actual prevention at the higher levels,” he said.
Trustee Joe Parker said the dog can be trained to sniff out more than marijuana, chiefly opioids and gunpowder.
In other action Monday, trustees agreed to seek attendance waivers from the Texas Education Agency for three low-attendance days. The state agency bases public school funding largely on daily attendance records and allows waivers in cases of an outbreak of illness or similar uncontrollable circumstance.
The days requested are Jan. 29, Feb. 1 and April 1.
Trustees on Monday also congratulated the teachers of the year from all five campuses.
They are Cynthia Cassel at Kilgore Primary School, Lisa Haley of Chandler Elementary School, Cathy Geary of Kilgore Intermediate School, Marissa Coop of Kilgore Middle School and Cheyenne Kirkpatrick of Kilgore High School.