The newest member of the Northside ISD Police Department is already the top dog. In August, the department welcomed its first K9, Alice. The two year old Belgian Malinois, a breed often used by law enforcement and military agencies, is trained to sniff out drugs.
On a regular basis, Alice visits campuses and inspects areas like parking lots and lockers.
“We feel very fortunate to have Alice as part of the Northside Police Department,” says Charlie Carnes, Northside Police Chief. “Having our own in-house K9 team gives us the ability to be proactive in our approach to keeping schools safe and drug-free. It also gives us new flexibility to immediately respond at our campuses as the need arises.”
Previously the District contracted with a company for K9 services. Several San Antonio-area school districts also have in-house K9 units.
Alice is paired with Officer Stephen Regules. They have a unique partnership- she spends her days working with him at schools and facilities across the District, and spends her nights living at his home. Despite the living arrangements, Alice is actually owned by Northside ISD.
They travel in a specially-outfitted vehicle that includes a kennel for Alice and an alarm system that alerts Officer Regules if the inside vehicle temperature becomes too hot.
“It’s a special bond we share, but I think it’s important that people remember she is not a pet,” says Officer Regules. “Alice has to respond to me as her handler, so it’s a fine line for me to establish a strong relationship with her but one where she will work with me every day.”
Alice went through a rigorous training program at Worldwide Canine Inc. in Spring Branch before coming to Northside. Officer Regules, who previously served as a campus police officer, also attended trainings with Alice at the facility.
Alice and Officer Regules will be most visible at high schools and middle schools, but they will also visit elementary schools to talk with students about the importance of staying safe and drug free. The District has developed a trading card and lesson plans to assist in their efforts to educate younger students.