HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — K-9 Cody appears pretty laid back sitting in the hallway of Kecoughtan High School, but don’t be fooled — her trainer said she is laser-focused.

“She is trained for single-purpose explosives and will also locate firearms as well,” said James Overton with American K9 Interdiction.

Hampton City Schools is contracting the company as part of its proactive plan to keep students and staff safe.

“We want to make sure the kids are doing what’s right out here… We have had some unfortunate incidents with the kids out in our community and we do not want that to come into the school environment,” Security Supervisor James Bailey told WAVY.

Dogs in school are not new, in fact, Hampton has its own narcotics sniffing dog. But these dogs are different, according to Overton.

“The PD’s dogs aren’t very — how do I put it diplomatically? — social,” he said.

Overton explained that they train dogs to alert, not apprehend. That makes them more approachable.

Also, a police dog’s mission is usually to find something in a static environment like a car or a locker.
Cody and his colleagues are trained to find a moving gun, such as one on a student in a crowded hallway.

The company has a team of two dozen dogs.

“So, it’s easier for us to hit multiple spots if we need to,” Bailey told WAVY.

Plenty of paws to patrol all four high schools and five middle schools — and you never know when they’ll show up.

“I’m not a dog person, however, I am getting a little better,” said Kecoughtan Executive Principal Violet Whiteman.

Whiteman appreciates that the distraction is minimal, which keeps the focus on learning.

“It gives me a little comfort to you know, they’re here to help us,” she said.

Hampton has a contract with American K9 Interdiction through the end of the next school year.