The following story was previously published on Lake Legal News.
From August to May each school year, Lake County Sheriff’s Office school resource deputies (SRDs) are in Lake County public schools protecting children and keeping the schools safe, but what are they doing during the summer?
Master Deputy Tim McCaig and his K9 partner Max are riding the streets of Lake County helping the patrol unit and nosing around for illegal narcotics, McCaig told Lake Legal News Friday; most often, they back up other deputies upon request.
Max is a single-purpose passive K9, which means he does not bite and chase people, he just sniffs out drugs. During the school year, Max travels all around the county with McCaig: “I spend the week traveling between the middle schools and high schools,“ he tells LLN, “My goal is to hit every school once a week.” Max sniffs lockers, vehicles and backpacks when needed, and most students are excited to see him, McCaig says.
Max is trained to sniff out cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana, McCaig explains. The most common drug found in the schools is marijuana, notes SRD Lt. Christie Mysinger. Earlier this month, Max had an exciting find — 4 grams of methamphetamine, a drug not commonly found in the schools. For his effort, Max is rewarded with praise and his toy, McCaig tells LLN. “He does his job to get his reward.”
While Max is the only K9 SRD; there are 31 humans in the SRD unit. They are helping in a variety of positions at LCSO, including patrol, civil/warrants, corrections, sex offender checks and they provide security and traffic assistance for the Department of Health (DOH) COVID-19 testing sites, Mysinger says.
“During the summer we assist the intel unit with verifying that sex offenders live where they say they live and drive what they say they drive. Protecting our children doesn’t stop because school is out,” Mysinger explains when interviewed.
Each summer, the SRDs normally put on two weeklong summer camps, one on the north side of the county and one on the south side of the county, for children aged 8 through 18. This year, they were forced to cancel the camps due to COVID-19, which enabled the SRDs to assist with COVID-19 testing sites, Mysinger says. “Due to the high volume of residents wishing to be tested the SRD unit assists the DOH with traffic and security at its testing sites. COVID-19 has affected the entire community, we are glad to help where we can.”