RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) - A local company is training dogs for bomb, explosive and drug detection. But who is hiring the dogs?
A pair of former law enforcement officers train the dogs. They can look for explosives at entertainment venues or search schools for drugs. They're even available to search your teenager's bedroom for drugs.
"I have a teenage daughter as does (my colleague)," said Geoff Beckwith, the company's chief operating officer. "So I can relate to it as a parent as well, and I can certainly understand the difficulty that there would be, you know, going through a time where you think that your son or daughter is using drugs."
If it sounds extreme, you might be surprised to learn that nearly 100 Triangle families have used the service. So far, they've turned up drugs about 10 percent of the time.
"We have been in a variety of circumstances where, you know, the stereotypical teenager the parents think, you know, the kids on drugs and they want some way to validate that before they take disciplinary action," said CEO Kyle Breischaft.
But if the company comes in, the discipline remains up to the parents. The company, which goes by Stealth Vigilance and SVK9, won't turn your kid in to the authorities. Right now, the dogs can detect street drugs, but the company is training them to be able to detect prescription opioids as well.
"We are not affiliated with law enforcement anymore," Beckwith said. "We provide parents the ability to use their own discretion once they know, 'Yes, there are drugs in my home. My kids is using drugs.'"
CBS North Carolina wondered what police might think of private drug searches.
"I have two children, and I let my kids know right up front that those rooms are my rooms that they're staying in, and I let them know right up front that I'll go in there room anytime that I want," said Garner police Capt. Joe Binns. "I don't unless I suspect something."
Police, and a drug educator we talked with at the Poe Center, a health-education nonprofit, stressed communication with your child is the most important thing.
Parents need to watch for warning signs including red eyes, rashes around the mouth and behavior changes such as withdrawing from friends and family.
"I would be concerned if, you know, the first intervention was a K-9 search, because I think there may have been a lot of things that were missed beforehand," said Rebecca Wheeler, senior health educator at the Poe Center.
"This is a way to stop the problem early on before they end up in the criminal justice system," Breischaft said.