In February, Ector County ISD introduced two new members to its police department – Officer Luke Mesa and K-9 Officer Odin, a two-and-a-half-year-old male German Shepard from Russia. Odin is a unique addition to the ECISD police department, and to our region, as he has the ability to detect weapons and ammunition. His handler, Officer Mesa, previously worked for Midland Independent School District as the handler for that district’s canine, and has more than a decade of law enforcement experience.
“We as a school organization believe the safety of our students and staff members is top priority,” said ECISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Scott Muri. “We are always exploring new and innovative ways to maintain the safety of our schools.”
The idea of adding a weapons dog to the ECISD police force came up during the fall semester. The District’s safety and security committee unanimously endorsed and the search began. Odin is trained, and law enforcement certified, to detect weapons, ammunition and explosives.
“Odin gives us the ability to be flexible and a bit more proactive in keeping our school safe,” added Dr. Muri. “He can inspect cars in our parking lots, lockers in hallways, and backpacks in classrooms.”
Odin is housed at the ECISD Police Department and will be used for random school searches or to help police when a threat is reported.
ECISD Chief of Police Todd Hiner said the cost of adding Odin to the force is about $100,000. “That includes the training, specialized equipment, and a new vehicle,” he said. “We are very happy to be able to do this for our schools.”
Chief Hiner added Odin can also track human scent and, being a non-tactical dog (meaning he does not bite as part of his response training), he can track people that may be lost.
Odin becomes the third K-9 unit for ECISD. Two other dogs, Diesel and Reagan, who are trained in the detection of drugs. District leaders say the possibility of adding more K-9 units is something they will consider.