Facing the law

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 4, 2005

Police spend day educating Suffolk students

By Jason Norman

If you run from a police dog, you’ll probably feel his teeth in your arm.

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If you get involved in drugs, you could end up in jail – or dead.

And if you point a gun at a police officer, he’s not going to stop and consider whether it might be real.

About 200 students from across Suffolk, chosen by the school’s respective drug education representatives, learned these and many other lessons Friday afternoon at the Youth and Law Enforcement (YALE) day at the Suffolk Armory. Representatives from the police department, fire department and health squad were on hand to give out information.

Outside, Officer Lance Callis and his canine friend Bosco showed the kids the basics of a drug search. The dog sniffed his way through a row of boxes, eventually finding one that contained some narcotics.

&uot;I get bit almost every time we do this,&uot; Callis said. &uot;The dog likes it that much.&uot;

Officer Tom Davenport put on a thick arm-length glove, and Bosco, who has helped apprehend five suspects in the past year, demonstrated what he does to fleeing criminals, clamping his jaws around Davenport’s arm. When Davenport removed the glove, his arm had been reddened from the bite.

The Health squad handed out brochures describing the dangers of drugs, and the fire department brought along its Safety House, which recreates what to do in case of a house fire.

&uot;I’ll never do drugs in my life!&uot; said Rasheen Watts, 11. &uot;I’ve learned that drugs can brainwash you, hurt your lungs and make you very weak.&uot;

Officer Junius Jackson told the kids about gun safety.

&uot;If you bring a gun to school,&uot; he said. &uot;you get handcuffed and brought outside. Your face will be on television and the rest of the local media. You’ll embarrass your parents. No one was will to associate with you because they’ll consider you a menace to society.

&uot;Stay away from drugs. Stay away from guns. We want you to have a safe summer.&uot;

Over in the main room of the armory, Officer Iris Davis gave a lesson to high school students about different types of crime, ranging from felonies and misdemeanors, to crimes by gangs, crimes on computers, and crimes against the person.

In another classroom, students watched a program where McGruff, the Crime Dog, lectured on gun safety and peer pressure.

&uot;Peers are people about your age,&uot; said Officer Tammy James. &uot;Maybe one year up or one year down. If we’re in fourth or fifth grade, we shouldn’t be hanging around ninth graders. Plain and simple, you’re not on the same level. You’re doing and thinking about different things. Take time and grow up at your own pace. Trying to grow up too fast can put you in situations you don’t want to be in.&uot;