Pubdate: Wed, 29 Sep 1999
Source: Eagle-Tribune, The (MA)
Copyright: 1999 The Eagle-Tribune
Contact:  P.O. Box 100 Lawrence, MA 01842
Fax: (978) 687-6045
Author:  Chris Markuns, Eagle-Tribune Writer


PELHAM [NH] - Police searched Pelham High and Memorial School for drugs
this morning.

Roughly 15 officers and 10 police dogs from Hudson, Nashua, Plaistow, Salem
and Lowell, Mass., as well as the Essex and Middlesex county sheriff
departments in Massachusetts helped with the search.

Acting Police Chief Evan J. Haglund was blunt about its goal.

"Ultimately it's to scare the hell out of the kids," he said.

The search, which began at about 9:30 a.m., was led by acting Chief
Haglund, Pelham High Principal Barry J. Connell and Assistant Principal
Dorothy A. Mohr.

They discussed ground rules for the search at a briefing for the officers
this morning.

At the high school, searches were conducted by teams of two dogs and
handlers. Students were moved in two large groups down to the school
cafeterias.  They were told to leave their bags and belongings behind as
they went to the cafeterias.

The dogs searched the school lockers and also checked the students as they
went by.  The dogs then moved on to searching the school parking lot.  They
sniffed around the outside of the cars in search of suspicious odors.

"We expect to find 10 or 15 cars (with drugs)," Pelham K-9 Officer Kenneth
Owen said before the search began.

A similar procedure was followed at the middle school.

Pelham Police Sgt. Gary Fisher said, "We've done this three or four times
before but not to this extent."

One search last year turned up marijuana, he said.  Acting Chief Haglund
said today's searches were part of ongoing cooperation between the schools
and police.

"We worked very hard with the schools to develop a zero-tolerance policy,"
he said.  "This is just another tool to enforce it."

Mr. Connell agreed.

"We work hard to make our school a safe environment," he said.  "We work
hard with the Pelham Police Department.  We're vigilant about this and we
take it very seriously."

As of press time, no drugs had been found.

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