Students Build Dog Training Wall

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SCRANTON -- Students at a school in Scranton are helping to take a bite out of crime

Students at the Career Technology Center in Scranton built a scent wall -- something that will help police dogs do their jobs better.

Mason, one of the Scranton police dogs demonstrated Tuesday morning, looking for marijuana in the newly constructed scent wall. Mason had to sniff out the pot in the right tube. When he does, there is a reward. In this case, it's Mason's favorite chew toy towel.

The wall was put together at the request of the Scranton Police Department by students at the Career Technology Center on Rockwell Avenue in Scranton.

"We get a sense of accomplishment for helping the communities around us and we like to do volunteer work," said student Joseph Williams.

Students and their instructor worked from a picture of what Scranton police asked them to build. It took about two weeks. What looks like painted particle board and plastic tubes is actually much more.

"They enjoy doing this because they have a sense of accomplishment. They're helping the Scranton Police Department," said building trades instructor Joe Vnuk.

Scranton police can put any drug in any tube. They can also use accelerants -- things used to set fires.

Ember, Scranton's arson dog, found the gasoline. As a reward, he gets to play with his favorite rubber ball.

"These kids were really great," said Scranton Ptlm. Scott Stelmak. "They worked really hard on the project. We weren't able to do this by ourselves and having them help us was unbelievable."

Ptlm. Stelmak says new dogs can get trained on the wall, and older dogs can sharpen their skills.

The cooperation between Scranton police and the Career Technology Center doesn't end here. They intend to cooperate on other projects down the road.

There's even more. The school and Scranton police will share the projects with other communities. Police from Endicott, New York and their dogs already had a crack at the scent wall.

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