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KCSO, LF-R visit Beau Tie Club

Posted: April 8, 2014 4:05 p.m.
Updated: April 9, 2014 5:00 a.m.

A group of Doby’s Mill Elementary School (DMES) students learned about how things work at the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) and Lugoff Fire-Rescue (LF-R) at a special event Friday. DMES Assistant Principal Michael Manning sponsors “The Beau Tie Club,” a group of boys recommended by teachers to be mentored by men of the community. They earn bow ties as rewards for good behavior and good decision making, Manning said.

The LF-R and KCSO visited the club as “a field trip that came to them,” Manning said.

Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews said he and several deputies were at Doby’s Mill to meet the boys and explain their jobs.

“We’ve got a bloodhound here and they’ll get to see a little demonstration of how the bloodhound works. We’ll show some of the patrol cars. Kids like to see inside them,” Matthews said. “It’s a good thing for young people to see law enforcement on the positive side.”

The LF-R brought its newest truck, fully equipped with the latest technology to fight fires and extract vehicle crash victims from wreckage. Assistant Chief Jack Truesdale said the truck is the most sophisticated one available.

“There are 11 on-board computers that run this fire truck. We’re going to demonstrate some things for you,” he told the boys. “It’s not like it was when I first started out when you put on a rubber coat and helmet and went in there to fight a fire. It’s a lot different today, you’ve got to be really educated.”

LF-R Firefighter Ben Hinson gave a tour of the truck, including the “jaws of life” tools used to cut apart wrecked vehicles so victims can be safely removed.

“Basically. all they are is giant scissors used for metal,” Hinson said.

The boys climbed through the truck to see the inner controls up close.

Matthews told the group the KCSO is there to help the community and only arrest those they believe have broken the law.

“We have a narcotics unit that works on drug cases. We have investigators who work on criminal cases like murders, break-ins and things like that. A very important group is our traffic unit, trying to keep people from killing each other on the highways. They catch a lot of drunk drivers,” Matthews said. “The people who have the hardest job are the patrol officers. They’re the guys who don’t get much glory, but they have the most difficult job.”

KCSO Lt. Ty Cobb introduced Cooper, a 6-month-old bloodhound being trained for tracking purposes.

“Cooper is one of four dogs we have that do this job. These dogs have one purpose, and that’s to find people,” he said. “Cooper is not quite as fancy as this big fire truck over here, but she’s got a lot of equipment that nature put on her. The biggest and most important part of her is this big nose she’s got.”

Cobb said all people have a unique scent and a bloodhound can tell people apart by their smell.

“Your skin is constantly growing. It falls off of you and when that scent falls off of you, you leave a trail wherever you go. We couldn’t smell it, but Cooper with her big nose can follow that smell and tell the difference in each and every one of you,” Cobb said. “She doesn’t need her eyes or her ears, although they are very helpful, but her nose is the main thing.”

Cobb said the bloodhound’s big ears are also an asset, as they flop along the ground and kick up smells towards the dog’s nose. He said the dogs track down suspects, but also are used for rescues.

“They track down lost children or Alzheimer’s patients, so they’re not trained to bite. When they find a person it’s a game to them,” he said “It’s hide and go seek for them and when they find someone they want love and praise.”   

Cobb fielded several questions from the group, including why he wears a shoulder harness for his weapon and other gear rather than a traditional gun belt around his waist.

“That’s because when we’re tracking someone a lot of the time it will be through woods or brush and if I had things around my waist it would get hung up. Wearing it up high keeps that from happening,” he said. “It keeps everything I need where I can get to it easily.”

Cobb ended his presentation with a word of advice for the boys.

“If you have friends that you know are doing something wrong, you need to find some new friends,” he said.

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