Sniffing dogs leave PCHS with clean record

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Features Editor

The "big" dogs called on the Bulldogs last week and went away empty handed.

For the students, faculty and administration of Pike County High School and the Brundidge Police Department, that was good news and big news.

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"That’s a good indication that drug use could be declining," said Brundidge Police Chief Moses Davenport, after the search of the high school by the Department of Corrections drug dogs. "The dogs only found marijuana residue on a few of the backpacks. They didn’t find any bags of marijuana in the lockers or in cars. That is a good sign. In the past, we have found bags of marijuana which could indicate drug sales, rather than drug use. What was found this time is less than during other searches and that’s good."

Davenport said the search was done with the cooperation of the Pike County Board of Education and the school administrators.

"The search was unannounced and the school was place on lock down," Davenport said.

"The students were asked to leave everything on their desk and the Department of Corrections brought in three dogs to make the search, room-by-room."

The police chief said there the number of contacts made by the dogs were far less than in previous searches.

"When the dogs made a hit on a bag, it was dumped and inspected," Davenport said. "There was residue on some of the bags, but noting in the bags."

Residue on a bad does not incriminate the owner of the bag, however.

"Someone, other than the owner,

might have smoked marijuana and then touched that bag and that would be all it took for a drug dog to sniff it out," Davenport said. "If someone was smoking marijuana around a person, the odor could get trapped in the material of the bag. Residue can be deposited many ways and it, alone, does not incriminate a person."

No students are "sniffed" by the drug dogs during a school lock down.

"We must have reason to believe a student is a suspect before he can be sniffed or searched," Davenport said. "We found nothing at

Pike County High School to give us reason to suspect any student of drug use on that day."

The Brundidge police chief said he was encouraged by the lack of findings in the drug dog search and hopes that is an indication of a decrease in drug use and the sale of drugs on campus.

Davenport said marijuana is sold in nickel, dime and quarter bags.

"But that’s street talk, " he said. "The cost to a user is really $5, $10 and $25, so it’s

not cheap. Parents should be cautious if their child is skipping lunch, doing without snacks or slipping money. That is an indication they are saving money for some other purpose – and it could be drugs."

The drug dogs are made available through the Department of Corrections at no cost to the school system.

"They provide a valuable service and we should take advantage of it," Davenport

said. "If students know their bags, lockers and vehicles are subject to be searched, they are less likely to take drugs on campus or try to sale them on school grounds. The fewer opportunities they have to use or buy, the better."