Scouts get glimpse into police life

 

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

EAST ROCKINGHAM — Tigers and Wolves and Bears, oh my. And Webelos, too.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Sgt. A. Ansley and K9 Officer Leica talk with local scouts Tuesday morning at East Rockingham Park.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Sgt. A. Ansley and K9 Officer Leica talk with local scouts Tuesday morning at East Rockingham Park.

Two dozen scouts assembled on Tuesday for the second day of a week-long Boy Scout camp at East Rockingham Park and were entertained and befriended by four officers with the Rockingham Police Department — including K9 Leica. Under a covered pavilion to stay dry during a light rain shower, Sgt. A. Ansley, Cpl. Marcus D. Ricks and Det. Ronald Brigman offered scouts a glimpse into life as a law enforcement officer.

Leica, a Belgian Malinois, was the exotic show not because she’s from the Four Winds K9 training center in Holland but the 13-year-old was the only teen present to have a badge — and the only one to have authorized to walk around on all fours while on duty.

Leica has been with handler Ansley for about 10 years and with the police department for all but the first year of her life, Ansley said. As Ansley fielded a barrage of questions from the exuberant crowd of scouts, he tossed out commands — in Dutch — for Leica to obey. The ability to obey, Ansley told the kids, is important for any law enforcement K9 officer.

“You can’t train a dog to do anything without training them how to follow directions,” Ansley said. “She’s go to listen and be able to respond.”

At her age, Ansley noted, Leica is past her prime but still a valuable asset to the police department and a tool in the war on drugs. As a narcotics detection expert, Leica can still smell with the best of them.

“She used to be real fast,” Ansley said.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Leica knows exactly where Sgt. A. Ansley has hidden the toy. And she wants it, but Ansley has not yet given her permission to retrieve the object.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Leica knows exactly where Sgt. A. Ansley has hidden the toy. And she wants it, but Ansley has not yet given her permission to retrieve the object.

One young man wanted to know if Ansley could put Leica in attack mode. Yes, Ansley said. But it’d be best if he didn’t, and “I can’t tell yo what the special word is” to do so.

Ansley said some dog experts don’t believe female dogs are as aggressive as their male counterparts. If that’s true, Ansley said, then Leica bucks the trend.

“In her hey day, she was … business,” Ansley said. “She’s been a real good partner.”

Ricks, traffic division supervisor for the Rockingham Police Department, talked with the scouts about the importance of following traffic safety laws. In language they could understand, Ricks emphasized that children in their age group are old enough to stay buckled in vehicles even if the parent says they don’t have to do so.

He also educated the youth on other traffic safety laws, such as the need to be over the age of 12 to ride in the back of a pick-up truck — and only then with supervision from an adult (18 or older).

“When a wreck happens, it’s somebody’s fault,” Ricks said. “Somebody broke the law.”

Ricks also encouraged the kids not to play in roadways or parking lots. In a battle between youthful flesh and the steel of a vehicle, the vehicle will win every time, he said.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Cpl. Marcus D. Ricks talks with a scout about the importance of obeying traffic safety laws.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Cpl. Marcus D. Ricks talks with a scout about the importance of obeying traffic safety laws.

“If your ball goes into the street, stop,” Ricks said. “When they hit you, it’s like hitting an aluminum can. It doesn’t do anything to them” but the child sure suffers.

Brigman, of the police department’s Special Weapons and Tactics team, spoke with the scouts about the important of teamwork — not unlike scouts, he said.

Misty Morgan, camp director, said the officers’ visit is a nice break from tasks and play events in the science-themed camp this week. It’s also important for kids to form bonds with police officers other than in emotional situations.

 

Ansley observed that it’s critical that children see law enforcement officers as a group of individuals that care about their safety. He expressed dismay at parents who use the threat of being jailed by police officers as tools to get rowdy kids in line.

That breeds distrust and fear, he said.

“If they are in trouble, where are they gonna go” for help, Ansley asked.

Filed in: Education, Featured News, Latest Headlines, Public safety

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  • http://gorockinghampd.com Donavan Young

    Kevin, I would like to share this story on our facebook page. Are you set up where I can share the stories we would like? Thanks, Det. Young. P.I.O.

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