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First drug detection dog to monitor schools in Okaloosa

This is Kilo, and Kilo's the first dog ever assigned to monitor only schools in Okaloosa County. And there's a lot of benefits that come along with that.

For the past few years, Okaloosa County has provided School Resource Officers. Now, they've added Kilo, a drug detection dog, to travel the county visiting middle and high schools.

Deputy Mark Nucci, Kilo's handler, says "so now we got protection from anybody trying to do ill will to the kids and from the kids who want to bring something that would possibly distract our students from learning, and we can get that out of the schools and create a nice, safe learning experience."

Kilo, unlike most K9's, was not bred for police work.

"Kilo's a rescue dog," says Nucci, "and he's been in the department about six years."

Nucci says he hopes Kilo's presence will prevent kids from bringing drugs to school.

"By me being here and the students not knowing what school I'm going to be at for how long, they're going to keep those drugs out of school, which is going to give the other students who don't do that stuff a safe learning environment where they don't have to worry about that."

Kilo helps find drugs, but Nucci says school administration decides what to do after that. He says that can help prevent kids from getting criminal records for small mistakes.

"If I find just one small joint, we can turn that over to the administration and they can handle it the way they want, and that's what's preferred, because it's not our job to police the schools.

Niceville principal Jeff Palmer says Kilo and Deputy Nucci combined with current school resource officers are there to help kids, not scare them.

"The SRO's in the schools have a really good understanding of what their role is in the school with young people. They educate them, and I think this is just an extension of that."

They say the best thing about Kilo is how comfortable he makes students feel when he's around.