DANVERS — Scout, the bomb-sniffing state police dog, visited students at St. Mary’s of the Annunciation School in Danvers this week with his special friend Roscoe, a robotic bomb dog.
The duo was joined by their handler State Trooper John Ragosa, who described to kids from preschool up to grade eight how the dogs help his team find dangerous explosive devices.
He showed them how Scout is able to sniff out threats thanks to extensive scent training. He also controlled Roscoe to dance on stage and pick up backpacks in front of the kids — the latter trick being one that the robot often uses when dealing with items too dangerous for troopers to touch.
“It’s great to see the kids and have them interact with police in a positive way and maybe learn a couple things… especially when they’re talking about multiple different careers,” Ragosa said. “Inside the police department, state police or other police departments are multiple career fields and specialties that they can aspire to.”
Ragosa visited during St. Mary’s career day Tuesday afternoon for Catholic Schools Week, making him just one of the people in uniform at the school. Kids were dressed as firefighters, police officers, doctors, dancers and an array of other professions they hope to be when they grow up, while watching his presentation.
While Ragosa booted up Roscoe backstage, State Trooper Cadet Juan Miguel told students about the different units they could one day work on as troopers, like surveillance, Air Wing and bomb squad.
Surprised gasps came from kids bouncing on their knees as Roscoe sauntered into the room not long after.
Roscoe’s been on the State Police Bomb Squad for a year and a half. He can’t do a backflip like one student asked. He can’t run fast, jump or swim either. But walking backwards down the staircase of the school’s stage? That got loud cheers from Ragosa‘s audience.
Roscoe can also use his infrared technology to help officers find suspects while responding to SWAT situations, Ragosa said. St. Mary’s Principal Stephen Daigle said Roscoe was also a nice way to end the day, since students had been working on STEM projects together that morning.
“It’s great that they were able to come in with the robotic side of things with a robotic dog…,” Daigle said. “On our profession day today, it was nice to see all the different careers that can come out of something like the robotic dog. It keeps it fun.”
The school hosted a pancake breakfast for students Wednesday, a talent show Thursday and a volleyball game between eighth-graders and staff was set for Friday, all as part of Catholic Schools Week, Daigle said.
“These kids are getting a special education and we want to promote that for Catholic schools,” he said.
Contact Caroline Enos at CEnos@northofboston.com and follow her on Twitter @CarolineEnos.