Pubdate: Sun, 11 Nov 2007
Source: Decatur Daily (AL)
Copyright: 2007 The Decatur Daily
Author: Bayne Hughes
Bookmark: (Students - United States)
Bookmark: (Drug Dogs)
Bookmark: (Marijuana)


If you are a Morgan County high school student, you  might want to
make sure you cleaned your truck or car  of shotgun shells left there
from a recent dove or deer  hunt.

You might want to make sure there are no cigarettes,  alcohol, tobacco
or drugs -- legal or illegal, and even  if they're not yours -- in
your vehicle or locker.

Morgan County Learning Center Principal Layne Dillard  said Morgan
County Schools hired Interquest Detective  Canines of Demopolis, a
company that uses trained dogs  to search for items that schools do
not allow on  campus.

Dillard said a dog searched 150 cars, five classrooms  and about 300
lockers Wednesday at Priceville High  School. The service from this
private company costs  about $24,000. The school system pays the fee
with  federal Title 4 money that focuses on drug-free and  safe schools.

At Least 1 Search a Month

She said the fee pays for at least one search a month  at each high
school and junior high, and some repeat  visits.

Dillard said they held assemblies at each school to  warn the
students, but many didn't realize how  sensitive the dogs' noses are.
She said they found  empty shotgun shells, used on a hunting trip,
from  outside the vehicle.

The dogs found the parents' prescription drugs in a  vehicle they let
their children drive.

"We told them that's like getting pulled over by the  police and
having alcohol in your car," Dillard said.  "If it's in your car or
your possession at the time,  it's yours."

Dillard said the company searched all five high schools  in the past
month. She said word spread quickly from  Danville High to Falkville
High about searches. She  said students aren't happy about the
searches, but they  get used to them and officials find less every
subsequent search.

Word of Mouth

"Those students talk, so we didn't find near as much  when we went to
Falkville the day after we went to  Danville," Dillard said.

She said the U.S. Supreme Court gave the OK to a  similar

Phil Hastings, director of safety and alternative  education for
Decatur City Schools, observed the dogs  in action in Morgan County.
The dogs impressed him.  When a dog finds a car or locker with a
suspicious  smell, it lies down and waits for its handler to began
the search.

"I was amazed at how long they (dogs and handlers) work  without a
break," Hastings said.

Decatur uses the city's canine unit from the Police  Department for
its searches. Hastings said they smell  only for marijuana and illegal
drugs, so he might  consider using this private company to supplement
what  Decatur is already doing. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake