Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods introduced the newest four-legged member of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer (SRO) Division during a press conference that was held on Tuesday morning.
According to MCSO, Albi is Marion County’s first firearms detection police canine. Albi is a German Short-Haired Pointer, and she will join the ranks of the SRO Division at the start of this school year.
Corporal Erik DeAngelis is Albi’s handler, and they will patrol local schools and school events together. Albi is trained to detect firearms, ammunition, ammunition casings that have been fired, post-blast residue (after a firearm has been fired), smokeless powder, gun oils, and gun lubricants.
Corporal DeAngelis and Albi will randomly visit schools, along with extra-curricular and sporting events, and they will check for firearms and ammunition. The goal of this new team is to deter potential gun violence at Marion County schools.
Albi’s firearm-detecting abilities were put on display at the press conference. Backpacks were placed on different chairs, and one of those backpacks contained a handgun.
Corporal DeAngelis and Albi were brought into the room without any prior knowledge of the handgun’s location. Albi moved quickly and correctly identified the bag that contained the firearm.
Sheriff Woods said, “With gun violence among our youth on the rise across this nation, my office, along with School Superintendent Dr. Diane Gullett and your Marion County School Board, want to lead the fight against these crimes here in Marion County. As parents, we value our children more than anything else in our lives.”
“As your Sheriff, I am going to make every effort to protect them, and this is just one of our newest tools in that fight. By helping keep guns out of our schools, this dog will save lives,” added Sheriff Woods.
Sheriff Woods thanked the generous donors who made it possible to bring Albi to the SRO Division. According to the sheriff, donations were also provided to bring a second firearms detection dog to Marion County, and this second dog will join Albi “very soon.”
At the end of the press conference, Sheriff Woods concluded by stating, “Now, to the would-be perpetrator who thinks they want to bring a firearm to a school or a school function, just remember: we will be there. Albi will be there. You will be caught, and you will be brought to justice.”