DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — There’s a new student at Dickson County High School who has already become quite popular in Coach John Patterson’s criminal justice class.
That student is a four-legged chocolate Labrador named Criminal Justice, or CJ for short.
Little CJ’s journey to high school began back over the summer thanks to a conversation.
“Me and Ms. Sims, we said, ‘We need to get us a dog,’ and we were talking about a robotic dog,” Patterson recalled. “We were just kidding, of course.”
However, Leslie Sims, another criminal justice instructor at Dickson County High School, decided to bring the idea up to a friend over dinner: “We were talking and she said, ‘Hey Leslie, I’ve got a dog.'”
Shortly after CJ was born, Heather Ramsey and her husband, John, decided to gift a 9-week-old Labrador to the high school’s criminal justice department.
“We just wanted to help out in any way that we could and improve the school system,” Heather explained.
CJ has been the talk of the town since he started classes just a few days ago, but he has an important job. He’ll soon be trained as a working drug dog from which the students can learn.
“What we want to do is we want to have CJ trained to detect various controlled substances, and then by using pseudo substances, we want to make it so that the students can actually work him,” Patterson explained.
Both instructors are able to share their past law enforcement experience with students, hoping their curriculums can make a difference, like one forensics class did for Sims when she attended Dickson County High School.
“That class drastically changed my entire path on life, and just to be able to give that to another student that I’m teaching now is just amazing,” she said.
Not every student will find a career in criminal justice, but allowing them the chance to learn more from CJ is something school leaders are excited to see in the near future.
“It only benefits the students and I think we have a duty to provide them the training and the education they are looking for,” said Patterson.
According to the principal, Dickson County High School is the first school in the state to have a working drug dog.
Once CJ completes K-9 training offsite, he will work on campus, helping to teach students taking criminal justice classes until he retires.