UNION COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – The Union County Sheriff’s Office is using its K-9s to take guns off school grounds.

On Monday, investigators say a K-9 trained to sniff out drugs, was doing a random, unannounced search in the parking lot of Forest Hills High School, which led to deputies finding a gun.

Two students, a 16 and an 18-year-old, are both facing charges related to having a gun on school grounds.

Deputy Matt Slover and his K-9 Pike train for everything, but there’s one thing he never wants to hear come across the radio.

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“That’s my biggest fear at work that one day the tone drops and that’s what it is,” said Deputy Slover.

He worries about a school shooting.

“I’m sitting here getting chills because that’d be the worst day of my life probably,” said Deputy Slover.

Deputy Slover’s wife is a teacher and his child is a student in Union County Schools.

“We’re human too, we have families, we have kids,” said Deputy Slover.

He has a job to do. Part of it is to make schools safer.

“They’re born with it.”

Pike is one of 13 K-9’s at the Union County Sheriff’s Office and one of nine narcotic-sniffing dogs.

“The human scent is not nearly as powerful as that of a canine,” said Tony Underwood, Union County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy of Operations.

The dogs do random, unannounced searches of school parking lots.

On Monday, investigators say a K-9 went looking for drugs in the parking lot of Forest Hills High School, but the dog and deputies found a gun.

“It’s the head snaps, the quick movement, the breathing picks up, the mouth closes,” said Deputy Slover of Pike alerting on drugs in a car.


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Deputies say on Monday, the dog alerted to the scent of drugs in Forest Hills High School’s parking lot, which by law, gives deputies a reason to search a car.

Investigators did not find drugs, but say they found a revolver and brass knuckles in one student’s car and ammo in another student’s car.

“It makes me feel safer. It makes me have more confidence in our K-9s and what they do,” said Underwood.

Deputy Slover and Pike are detecting danger and keeping their family and others safe at school.

“What affects the public, affects us too,” said Deputy Slover.

Investigators say the gun found at Forest Hills High School Monday was not loaded and there were no reports that the weapon was taken inside the school. The sheriff’s office says they’ll continue to do random, unannounced searches of parking lots of schools throughout the year.