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PISD Canine (K-9) Unit
                                             Kaki 2012  

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Canine (K9) Unit

About Our K-9 Program: Mission and History
What Does the K-9 Program Do?                                           
Meet the Dogs and Their Handlers
Fun Facts



The K9 unit is dedicated to the safety and security of the school district through proactive programs and the regular inspection of all district property.


The Plano Independent School District’s K-9 Program was formed in response to increased use of illegal drugs by students both nationally and here in Plano ISD. School administrators put the first “drug” dog under contract to the district in 1990, and in 1999, when school violence became a national issue, an explosives detection K-9 was added to the program

As a cost savings, the K-9 program came “in-house.” In 2001, our own Plano ISD K-9 program began. The program started with Gypsy, a contraband detection K-9, and Chara, an explosives detection K-9, which were purchased and, as predicted, saved the district $65,000 after their first year of service. Gypsy retired in 2009 after a long successful career here in Plano ISD and has been replaced by Kaki, another trained drug detecting dog.  In 2011, Chara retired after a ten-year career working to keep our schools safe. She was replaced with "Alley", also an explosives detection dog.  Kaki and Alley along with their handlers provide services to the entire District, which consists of 71 schools, 14 athletic and other facilities, approximately 55,000 students and nearly 7,000 employees.

What Does Our K-9 Unit Do?

The main objective of the K-9 Unit is to deter students, staff and visitors from bringing contraband onto any Plano ISD property. Our K-9 Unit makes random, unscheduled and sometimes unannounced visits to all Plano ISD campuses and buildings. They inspect schools, parking lots, cars, lockers, classrooms and common areas for alcohol, drugs and explosive weapons. 

The K-9 Unit is certified as a First Responder and works in conjunction with Plano’s Police and Fire Departments, as well as other agencies, whenever needed. The K-9’s and their handlers take part in a variety of community events such as:

  • Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America
  • Career Day
  • Safety Fair Day
  • Drug Awareness Presentations

Meet the Dogs and Their Handlers

Alley, a female Golden Retriever, became a member of the Plano Independent School District’s K-9 Unit in August 2011. Alley is trained to detect many types of explosives such as pyrotechnics, black powder, RDX, dynamite, detonation cord, C-4, Deta gel, Kinestik and TNT.  Alley's birthday is December 9th. Alley is partners with Security Specialist and K-9 Handler Charlette Gabriel to help keep our students and staff safe.

Kaki, a female labrador retriever, began work in early 2009. She replaced Gypsy, who retired after nine years service to the District. Kaki is trained to detect numerous types of narcotics such as cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.  Other odors Kaki can detect are marijuana, gunpowder, medications and alcoholic beverages. Kaki and her partner Security Specialist and K-9 Handler Emmett Smith are working together to help keep our schools drug free.


Fun Facts

  • Dogs were first used in the US on the battlefields of the Civil War, to detect and locate wounded soldiers.
  • Dogs use their sense of smell like humans use their eyes.
  • Dogs have olfactory glands at the top of their muzzles which allows them to separate odors. This means odors cannot be disguised or hidden from a dog.
  • Dogs' sense of smell is up to 10,000 times greater than humans.
  • Dogs can smell odors even in closed containers, even in Ziploc bags.
  • Upon their retirement, working dogs are allowed to become the property of their handlers and make the transition from working dog to full time family pet.

Contacts and Questions

Questions about our K9 Unit can be addressed to Joe Parks, Executive Director of the Plano ISD K-9 Unit at or send an e-mail to Handlers: