Chelsea — Inside the hallways of Chelsea High School, Deputy Shanna Young, a school resource officer, is having an important conversation with her partner Deputy Kuba.
"This way," she said, grabbing his leash. "Over here is where we need to go."
Deputy Kuba is a canine officer. He and Young are the newest SRO's in the Shelby County Schools and have been at Chelsea High School for most of the school year.
Young says they are the newest line of defense.
"We are going around constantly talking to students, checking doors, checking the parking lots, all kinds of stuff making sure people that are supposed to be here are here," she said. "And making sure the people who aren't supposed to be here aren't here."
Deputy Kuba brings an extra set of ears and eyes to the job, and puts his keen sense of smell to work every day.
"He's great at what he does," Young said. "His nose is amazing. He is trained in detection. When we are working he does what he is supposed to do."
But sometimes the job goes beyond that. Shelby County Sgt. Nathan Kendrick says canine deputies can help open the lines of communication with students, especially those who may not be all that forthcoming.
Sgt. Kendrick also says the goal is not just protection but also prevention.
"This is not a 'we are looking to put kids in jail,'" Sgt. Kendrick said. "We are looking to identify problems ahead of time and keep them from going to jail."
There are 2 canine deputies in the school system. In addition to Deputy Kuba, Deputy Trace is at Oak Mountain High School. The goal is to put even more canine officers in the schools as enrollment increases, Sgt. Kendrick said.