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Criminal Justice Students Learn Role of
K-9 Unit in County Sheriff's Office


West Windsor, N.J. - On Sept. 19, four Mercer County Sheriff officers visited campus to introduce MCCC's Criminal Justice students to two special members of their unit: Balko and Esso, two highly trained dogs who provide vital assistance in their police work. The one-hour presentation that took place on the West Windsor campus quad provided an overview of the dogs' roles and revealed the bonds between the canines and the officers who work with them.

According to Officers Craig Bunting and Chris Drew, the K-9s are trained to sniff out explosives and drugs and to help in missing persons searches. They also provide highly effective crowd control and general patrol assistance. Also participating in the presentation were Officers Tom Sweeney and C.J. McKenna.

Included in the demonstration was a car stop, where one of the dogs subdued the driver, and a demonstration chase of a perpetrator (protected with a Kevlar sleeve).

Noted Officer Bunting, "They are there to stop the threat." He observed that people respond to dogs differently. "No one wants to get bitten," he said. The dogs are especially effective in breaking up unruly crowds and minimizing the possibility that an officer will end up in a direct hands-on conflict with a citizen.

Students had a number of questions for the officers and appeared both fascinated and impressed with the K-9 unit. Officer Bunting told students he wouldn't want to do his job without his dogs.

The demonstration was hosted by the MCCC Criminal Justice Club. According to club advisor and faculty member Elizabeth Bondurant, the club plans to invite the officers and their dogs back to campus in the future. Other future events planned by the club are a visit to the 9/11 memorial and bringing the state police helicopter to campus.

Students in Mercer's Criminal Justice program earn an associate in science degree. They may major in either Law Enforcement or Corrections. Learn more about the Criminal Justice Club here. More about the program curriculum is available here.










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Officers explain the dogs' roles in searches for explosives and drugs.
The use of dogs in car stops is demonstrated.
Mission accomplished. Dog trots back from a field pursuit.
Students with County Sheriff's officers and
Criminal Justice Club Advisor Liz Bondurant, center.