By Brad Segall
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Visitors to the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown will soon be greeted by a new security measure — the four-legged kind.
The district attorney’s office used money confiscated from convicted drug dealers to buy a pair of dogs that will be trained to sniff for narcotics and will be used to patrol the two courthouse entrances and the hallways outside courtrooms.
Sheriff Eileen Behr says it’s another tool in the arsenal to keep the courthouse, which sees hundreds of visitors every day, safe.
Behr says dogs have an intimidating but calming effect.
“People are afraid of being bit by a dog and they’re very respectful of the dog,” she tells KYW Newsradio. “The dog can be menacing with the bark — people obey the canine officer.”
District attorney Risa Ferman says maintaining order and security in the courthouse is paramount.
The two dogs have been named “Bear” and “Reece.” Bear is a 14-month old German Shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix, and Reece is a 16-month-old Dutch Shepherd.
Officials say they hope to have the dogs and their handlers trained and back in the courthouse by Thanksgiving.