Jackson Gardiner, from Boy Scout Troop 380 in Meridian, presented his completed Eagle Scout Project to the Idaho State Police on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
Jackson, 14, constructed 10 training boxes for ISP’s K-9 program.
His inspiration came a few months earlier when he observed a safety presentation given by Cpl. Chris Cottrell and his ISP K-9 Dax.
Jackson was so impressed with the dog and his ability to identify illegal drugs, he contacted Cpl. Cottrell and asked how he could help.
The boxes are used in training five at a time. They are randomly placed around a large room, typically a garage or warehouse. Four of the boxes will contain something attractive to the dog, like dog food or a toy. The fifth box houses a specific drug. The dog is then ordered to search the area and is rewarded when he or she finds the box with the drug in it.
“It’s amazing to watch,” says Jackson’s father, Capt. Bill Gardiner, ISP’s district commander in the Boise area.
Out of the 10 boxes built by Jackson, five will stay in Boise and the rest will be sent to Coeur d’Alene.
Jackson completed the project with the help of donations from Intermountain Wood Products and Rodda Paint. Additionally, Jackson and several volunteers put 35 hours into cutting, assembling, sanding, painting and striping each box to look like one of ISP’s patrol cars.
We learned that ISP’s K-9s have to rely on other police agencies’ drug boxes to train. I knew right then I wanted to build training boxes for the State Police. I felt that my work on this would help keep addictive and harmful drugs off the street.