Pubdate: Fri, 14 Jan 2005
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Kate Dubinski


The Edmonton cop who runs Dogs for Drug Free Schools defended the program 
yesterday, saying his two-year-old Labrador retriever has yet to do a 
single search since starting school visits last April. The program was 
blasted by critics earlier this week for infringing on students' rights to 

The dog, Ebony, has been a fixture at Hairy Ainly high school for two 
years, along with school-resource officer Const. Doug Green. Both Edmonton 
Public and Catholic school divisions back the project.

"We don't do random searches," Green said yesterday. "I use Ebony, who is 
trained to sniff out drugs, to teach kids about drugs, about the criminal 
repercussions - it's education, not enforcement."

Green and Ebony have made presentations for about 8,000 students in 35 
different schools, Green said.

The program was started by Green to head off drug problems at junior and 
high schools in the city, particularly in light of the growing 
methamphetamine problem.

"I'm not unrealistic - I know (students) will try to do recreational drugs. 
Anyone can sniff out a bunch of B.C. bud, but not meth crystals," Green said.

While Green lectures about drugs, Ebony, who students have seen since she 
was a puppy being carried around the school by Green, demonstrates how she 
can sniff out drugs, hopefully deterring students from using or bringing 
the stuff into schools.

"Since this started, there's been a 50% decrease in students we catch with 
drugs," Green said.

If drug use is suspected in a particular part of the school, then Ebony can 
go check it out, sniffing for drugs that can't be traced by people.

But that hasn't happened to date.

"The project isn't to prosecute kids. The only person she's going to offend 
is someone with drugs at school. It's about deterrence."

The dog has also helped foster relationships with students the school cop 
may not come in contact with, he said.

"If I want to catch drug dealers, I'll go across the street to the mall. In 
two years I've been doing this, I haven't sent a single kid into the 
criminal justice system for simple possession," Green said, adding that 
instead, parents are contacted and solutions worked out.
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