On Wednesday, Oct 12, four member of New York State Police Troop D in Oneida visited Barringer Road Elementary School.
Although the students liked Troopers Kevin Conners and Tom Smoulcey, the real hits of the day were there respective canine partners Schini and Jake.
Trooper Conners introduced Schini, his two and a half-year-old Bloodhound. Tpr. Conners met Schini when she was just eight weeks old. Although none from her line had ever entered law enforcement, he recognized her strong trailing instinct. In just two years, she has proven herself to be so good at her job that other agencies from across the country.
Schini is a trailer. That means she uses the 300 million scent glands to follow the scent of a lost person or suspected fugitive. She not only smells scents on the ground, but picks them up in the air. That allows her to follow the direction a person took rather than each footstep on the ground. His nose is always at work. When Trooper Conners walked Schini around to meet the students, Schini carefully sniffed each person.
Trooper Smoulcey handles Jake, a five and a half-year-old German Shepherd. Jake has two jobs—explosives detection and handler protection. Although his nose is not as sensitive as a Bloodhound’s his 225 million scent glands enable him to air-scent. He identifies scents in the air and steadily closes in on its source. If he smells explosives, he leads Trooper Smoulcey to the source, then lies down. Trooper Smoulcey rewards him with his favorite toy, a rubber ball on a loop of coarse rope.
Jake and his handler teamed up four years ago when Jake’s original owners were faced with a choice. Jake was so high-strung that they needed to find a new owner or euthanize him. The State Police and Trooper Smoulcey took on the challenge. They focused Jake’s energy on the important tasks of finding explosives and protecting his handler.
Both dogs live with their troopers. Trooper Conners admits that Schini often sleeps in his bed. When the dogs turn eight years old, they will retire and live out the remainder of their days with their human partners.