K-9 seeks ammunition

On Monday, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) announced that one of its K9 team members is actively being utilized on Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (WS/FCS) campuses in an effort to further combat gun violence in the district.
According to the FCSO, K9 Honda, a two-year-old chocolate Lab, is the newest addition to the FCSO K9 Unit and was sworn to duty this past April. K9 Hondo and his handler, Deputy Justice, are assigned to the School Resource Division, with Hondo trained to only detect firearms and ammunition.
“It is unique to have a K9 that is trained only to detect firearms and ammunition. But K9 Hondo is unique. He is an investment solely in the safety of our students. He is a progressive, alternative solution to the challenges we are facing. While K9 Hondo can only be in one place at a time, we are deploying him strategically throughout our schools,” said Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby F. Kimbrough, Jr.
The FCSO’s announcement about K9 Hondo comes after Friday’s press conference from WS/FCS Superintendent Tricia McManus, who reported that another firearm had been located by a school resource officer, this time earlier in the day at Mount Tabor High School.
The seizure of the weapon marks the fourth time a firearm has been found at a WS/FCS high school since the September 1 fatal shooting of a student at Mount Tabor. Firearms were also found at Reynolds and Parkland high schools in recent weeks. In addition, a large fight among students was broken up at Parkland on a separate occasion and gunshots were reported at a park adjacent to the school on September 17.
Last week, Forsyth County officials announced that the county, the City of Winston-Salem and other partner agencies would be joining with community-based organizations and individuals to combat gun and gang violence and through the possible implementation of a violence interruption program first launched in Chicago.
According to county officials, the Cure Violence program reduced shootings in one of Chicago’s most violent communities by 67 percent in its first year.
Since then, Cure Violence has helped set up evidence-based violence interruption programs in many cities, including Jacksonville, Fla.; Atlanta, Ga.; New Orleans, La., Baltimore, Md.; New York City; Washington, DC; St. Louis, Mo.; Camden, N.J.; and Charlotte, Durham and Greensboro in North Carolina.
Cure Violence staff are expected to conduct a site visit within the next few weeks, officials said.
The site visit will include data collection and analysis on potential target areas, assessments of local institutions and identifying additional partners for implementation. Once the assessment is complete, community-based organizations and individuals will play a vital role in making Cure Violence work. Both city and county governments have already set aside funds for this initiative.
County officials described the Cure Violence program as an “evidence-based model that stops the spread of violence by using the methods and strategies associated with disease control: detecting and interrupting conflicts, identifying and treating the highest risk individuals and changing social norms.”
It uses trained “violence interrupters” and outreach workers to identify and mediate potentially lethal conflicts and to follow up to ensure a conflict does not reignite. Outreach workers will work with those at highest risk to make them less likely to commit violence and help them obtain services they need, like job training and drug treatment. It also engages residents and local organizations to speak out against violence, officials said.

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