“Drugs will take you one of two places: jail or hell.”
On Wednesday, Pike County Jailer Freddie Lewis and their K-9 Unit Copper visited Ambassador Christian Academy in Williamson, W.Va. during the school’s Red Ribbon Week Celebration, and he had a very simple message for the students: you can accomplish anything you want in life, but drugs will strip those dreams away from you.
Kendra Mahon of ACA contacted the Pike County K-9 Unit to participate as one of the week’s Red Ribbon Week special guests.
“I don’t want any child in this school to think they are not susceptible to being offered drugs,” Mahon said. “It doesn’t matter if you go to a Christian school or a public school. I want them to understand that this affects everyone: no matter what race, or gender, or economic background. Eventually, everyone can be affected by drugs.”
Lewis says he is tired of living in a reactive American society. So instead of sitting back and waiting for someone else to change things, his team has been traveling to schools around the area to teach students about the dangers and effects of drugs.
“I think it’s very important that we all work together as a team,” Lewis said. “Our bordering states, we all need to get on the same page because, at the end of the day, we’re all fighting the same war. I am absolutely pleased to come over here.”
To Lewis, the fight is about the children. Mingo County is not his jurisdiction, but he knows that this epidemic, much like the weather, does not recognize state or county lines.”Anything that comes into Williamson today will be in Belfry tomorrow,” Lewis said. “And anything that’s in Belfry today will be in Williamson tomorrow.”
The team rounded out with Lt. D. Hampton, Copper’s handler; Sgt. Bryan Ferrell; and Cpl. Norman Mines from the Mingo County Sheriff’s Department.
The group came with the intention of talking about the significance of drug addiction in the region. They also searched the school, in particular grades 7-12. Lewis explained to the students that the purpose of Copper is not just to catch people and throw them in jail. Instead, they are working to save people’s lives.
“We need to be proactive in keeping our children off of drugs,” Lewis said. “I run 350-400 prisoners a day in our jail. I see what it does to our people.”
Lewis says that he has 18 and 19-year-old kids in the Pike County Detention Center going through withdrawals daily.
“I don’t want to see these children in isolation, laying on a concrete floor shaking and crying, and a mother and father out in our lobby about to die because that’s their baby,” Lewis said. “Shame on us as officials and as law enforcement for not going out here and doing whatever we can, with the tools that have been provided to us, for not trying to be proactive and help these children. The only way we can fight this is together as a team. And that means getting up and getting out here working. Teaching our children.”
Before the end of the assembly, Copper was allotted the opportunity to show how he works. The team hid two bags of drugs around the gymnasium, and he sniffed both of them out successfully within a matter of seconds. He was thrown two bouncy balls to play with as a reward.
“He’s a really great asset to our vision and our focus of what we want to do in our office. Copper has helped us on numerous occasions.”
The Detention Center uses Copper in many ways: out on the road, tracking inmates, speaking to schools, etc.
“We gladly welcome the invitation to any of our local schools,” Lewis said. “It’s all about the children.”