CARTERSVILLE, Ga., May 9, 2018 – Cartersville City School Board ratified at its May School Board meeting a recommendation by Superintendent Howard Hinesley to purchase a Belgian Malinois patrol dog named Hart. The multifunctional K-9 patrol dog will begin his job on the Cartersville High School campus beginning in the 2018-19 school year along with his handler, a Bartow County Sheriff’s deputy.
Born in the Czech Republic, Hart comes to Cartersville from Ruidoso, New Mexico. He is two years old and is characterized as being a stable, clearheaded dog with a wonderful social disposition.
Superintendent Howard Hinesley said, “As a system, we are constantly looking at ways to improve school safety. A school board member suggested that we investigate the feasibility of adding a trained patrol dog along with a second officer at the high school. We are excited about the fact that this will come to fruition. We believe this will play a major role as a deterrent and at the same time will give us the benefit of having an additional officer present on campus.”
To be ready for the first day of school in August, the Bartow County Sheriff’s deputy selected to be Hart’s handler will travel to New Mexico for eight to 12 weeks of training. The training, which will take place at a specially designed facility and at various public locations, will include skills in detection, obedience and patrol.
According to National Criminal Justice Reference Service, K-9 patrol dogs “provide an invaluable service as a deterrent, exerting a powerful restraint on those who intend to do harm.”
Local veterinarian, Dr. Kevin McElwee, of Cartersville Animal Hospital, agreed to provide pro bono veterinarian services for Hart.
Superintendent Hinesley said, “The school system is very appreciative of Dr. McElwee’s generous offer to assist us in this effort to continue to maintain a safe learning environment.”
In addition to the patrol dog, the new security measures include faculty and staff access to the School Guard app for smart devices. When users are present on any Cartersville City School System campus and initiate an alert, the app will instantly contact 911, display a mapped location to the source of the alert, alert all teachers and staff members, alert all participating schools within five miles as well as all participating on- and off-duty law enforcement officers who are near the school location. A second feature allows faculty and staff members to alert school administrators in case they are needed to assist in a situation.
Also, the school system will replace all existing surveillance cameras at Cartersville High School with higher resolution cameras. The number of cameras will be increased as well to provide better coverage of the campus. The existing cameras will be relocated to Cartersville Primary, Elementary and Middle schools.
All new safety measures will be in place by the start of the 2018-19 school year.