PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — A nonprofit is giving rescue dogs a chance to train and become a part of police departments and schools all across the United States.
The organization is a part of the National Association of School Resource Officers national safety conference in Pigeon Forge, offering their services and educating attendees.
Animal Farm Foundation has placed more than 60 dogs, mostly pit bull breeds, in a K9 role either with police departments or SRO's in schools.
Each dog is trained to sniff for weapons or narcotics. After their training, those dogs are offered as a gift.
The nonprofit partners with Sector K9 to train each animal.
Erich Steffensen is the special programs manager for Animal Farm Foundation and says having a trained dog in a school is a valuable resource.
"It just makes the kids able to talk to the officers a little bit," Steffensen explained. "They want to see the dog. The dogs are all friendly and want to get pet. They go to work every day. It's a deterrent for some kids, but for others it gets the kids able to talk to the officers, so it's good all around."
Departments can fill out an online application to see if they qualify for a detection dog.
According to the nonprofit's website, Animal Farm Foundation pays for the training of the dogs and a course for the handlers. This saves a community $20,000.
The organization also trains shelter dogs to become service animals.