ELEANOR, W.Va. -- Putnam County Sheriff's Department Deputy Brian Donohoe stood in an empty hallway at George Washington Middle School, straining against the long black leash that connected him to his new partner.
"Get the bird," Donohoe shouted, and Dare, a 3-year-old German Shepherd, bounded toward a row of lockers lining the wall.
"He doesn't hesitate," said PCSD Cpl. Will Jordan, watching as Dare leapt toward a locker and tried to retrieve what was inside.
"He'd flip somebody's car over," said fellow Deputy Steve Martin, laughing.
The "bird" Dare was ordered to find was a rolled towel scented with narcotics, an early training exercise for the "green" police dog.
Dare and two other German Shepherds, Dux and Eli, will join the sheriff's department once they've been certified as police dogs. They'll be the first dogs the department has had since 2010, when it retired its last dog, Flint.
Jason Cooper, owner of Precision K-9 Services in Scott Depot, has been providing and training police dogs for area law enforcement offices with his wife, Angie, since shortly after the couple met in 1996.
The Coopers, along with Sgt. Shane Shamblin, will help train the three dogs.
Dare and Dux, a 1 1/2-year-old German Shepherd who will become Deputy Martin's dog, have just started training to become "dual purpose" K-9s. The two will be trained to track and apprehend suspects, as well as sniff out narcotics. The third dog, 1 1/2-year-old Eli, will serve strictly as a narcotics dog with his future handler Jordan, the county's school resource officer.
"I'll be taking him into the schools every day," Jordan said. "I've been an officer working with all 23 schools in the county for 13 years. When you build a rapport with the teachers, with administrators -- I can come in unannounced any day.
"That's the kind of relationship we want to have with the community, with the teachers, with the board of education," he said. "I hope I never find anything, but it's just a great tool, knowing that we can come in any time and search."
A few of the schools in the county went unsearched last year, according to Jordan. That's something he hopes will change now that he has a dog available to perform random searches. Jordan and Eli will partner up on July 15, and Eli will become a certified narcotics dog before the start of the coming school year.
"It's not about seeing how many kids we can throw in jail. It's about keeping them honest," Jordan said.
Justice, Jordan's last dog, died four years ago after working alongside Jordan for eight years. The department had already retired two other dogs, so after Justice and Flint stopped working the department began using dogs from other area law enforcement agencies, including the Hurricane Police Department, the Nitro Police Department and the West Virginia State Police.