Mesa Boy Scout ‘nose’ what helps K9 dogs The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

Mesa Boy Scout ‘nose’ what helps K9 dogs

Mesa Boy Scout ‘nose’ what helps K9 dogs
Mesa
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TRIBUNE NEWS STAFF

Thanks to a local Boy Scout, the Mesa Police K9 corps is smelling pretty good these days.

That’s because the canines now have a “scent wall” built by 16-year-old Matthew Iannello, who undertook the project to earn his Eagle rank.

The project was part of Matthew’s bigger dream: He became a Mesa Police Cadet two years ago and hopes to join the department as a forensic officer once he’s complete his college education.

Matthew, the son of Lourdes and Robert Iannello of Mesa and a junior at Red Mountain High, has been a Scout for more than a decade and is a member of Troop 301, which is associated with the Love of Christ Church.

“The scent wall helps train the younger dogs,” said Matthew. “Handlers put narcotics in the top part of the port and it shoots a tennis ball out the side.

“The dogs treat it as a game where, ‘Oh, I get a toy if I find the certain smell.’ So, the dogs search for the smell inside those ports and then alert the officers to the smell.”

To make the wall, he used plywood and PVC pipes with metal brackets and cart wheels for the moveable stand.

There are five ports in the scent board.

“We just have a mesh screen on the top part,” said Matthew.

He said he first got the idea during a Police Cadet meeting when officers brought in the K9 unit.

Though he doesn’t own a dog, he said the police canines “always struck me as something important to the main police force.”

“So, I decided to build a scent wall to help train their dogs to help them get better and stronger,” he explained.

While it only took Matthew a couple of hours to make the scent board, more time was spent getting all of the materials together.

It took about four hours to make, but he spent two years gathering the materials.

“This is such a unique and helpful addition to the Mesa Police Department K9 Unit,” said Mesa Police Chief Ken Cost.

“I am so proud of Matthew for thinking outside the box and working toward his goal of becoming a police officer and for being such a positive role model to his peers and the Mesa community.”

Said Matthew: “I’ve always loved the police department ever since I was a kid. I could not have done this without the support of my family, friends and, most importantly, the scouts and the Mesa Police Department.”

And like all Eagle Scouts, the project also taught him something: “I learned how to be a better leader,” he explained.” ′

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