Saturday, December 10, 2005

This smells like shit

Police and their drug-sniffing dogs conducted a search of a Colorado high school last week, and although the dogs indicated they smelled drugs a number of times, none were found.
Although narcotics detection dogs picked up the scent of drugs six times during a search Thursday of Moffat County High School, police didn't find illegal substances.

School officials requested the search after finding marijuana at the school earlier this year, Craig police Officer Alvin Luker said.

"Our mission is to create a safe, quality learning environment, and that environment needs to be drug free," Assistant Principal Thom Schnellinger said.

I fail to understand how interrupting the school day by bringing in ineffective dogs does anything to foster a "quality learning environment."

At least one of the dogs used in the search has an appropriate name.
Folks and his dog, Tzar, also participated in the search.
But let's all rest assured that the school officials and police involved know what's best for the students, okay?

The police department has an agreement with the high school to conduct searches using drug dogs. High school officials request searches, but they must have a specific reason. School officials also must agree to pursue a criminal investigation if an illegal substance is found during such searches.

"Our policy states that we won't do a search just because there's suspicion of drugs," Luker said. "There has to be a definite need."

Let's hope some of the local parents raise a stink that this intrusive search failed to reveal a "definite need" for doing anything like this ever again.

"Our purpose is not to try to get kids in trouble for carrying dope," he said. "We're trying to keep kids from bringing it to school. We have to do certain things to protect our children from others."

If dogs give an alert at a locker, school officials take action, Schnellinger said.

"(An alert) creates a scenario of what's called reasonable suspicion," he said. "We will address this with students and parents, on an individual basis."

How can the courts agree that these dogs' alerts amount to "reasonable suspicion" when they falsely alert over and over again?

9 comments:

Go Lions! Rah-Rah! said...

Intimidation doesn't prevent drug use or sales, nor does incareceration. Individual choice is the only "prevention."

People get busted all the time, but it doesnt change anything. Oh, when will they learn?

I remember in high school back in the ol' '80's, no one used their assigned locker. And no one kept dope in the same locker as their books, etc. Most people would keep it on their body. There were dog-sweeps twice in those 4 years. Both times small amounts of marijuana were found. The people to whom the lockers were "assigned" were detained, and in the end nothing happened because there was no proof of anything.

All high school dog-sweeps do is further portray anti-drug efforts as absurd, and teach kids how to handle dope without detection.

So, with the sharpening of the concealment skills, at least there is some harm-reduction as a result. Teens are less likely to suffer harm from succesfully bringing marijuana to and from school than from being convicted of a drug offense, serving time, missing school, and being cut off from financial aid for post-secondary education.

If nothing else, knowing how to handle dope without getting caught will boost an adolescents fragile ego into thinking that selling drugs is cool. And if they do get caught, they will be tuned in to how to move dope around while incarcerated. That skill could literally save their life.

Oh, the burning irony!

Anonymous said...

Please refrain for using curse words on your site. It is offensive and not needed to make your points.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, do we have some warped people here.

I checked this blog because it was recommended as being honest, whether or not one agreed with the politics. So the first image is of a snarling dog being restrained (shades of Missi/bama in the 60's) but the article is on dope-sniffing dogs - no connection that I see, beyond political slant.

Second, an assertion that dope-sniffing dogs are unrelaiable, and they apparently were in this case. However no facts are given as to whether or not dope-sniffing dogs are, overall:
a) Never reliable
b) Frequently reliable
c) Some times reliable
d) Rarely reliable
e) Never reliable

Third, since when did s**t become profane? Most people do not speak Latin frequently, so feces sounds a little odd, doo-doo sounds a little childish, and excretement is back to Latin. Ah, the word is not used by the nobility in England. I see.

Uninformative blog, even though I happen to agree with some of the politics.

PC'trol

Ross Wilson said...

I don't think the poster of this article intended to report the results of any independent research regarding the statistical reliability of drug-sniffing dogs.

He did, however, point out that this incident is the latest in a long line of embarrassments for those who employ this tactic. My understanding is that this is a blog for people to report encounters with the drug war and inspire debate about solutions to failed drug policies.

From accounts I've heard, drug-sniffing dogs do, in fact, snarl at students when brought into schools.

Anonymous said...

Ran into your story while reading some other liberal bullshit and was just wondering how much research you actually did when you wrote this article? Courts have approved the use of canines because they have proven to be effective early detection tools. As with all tools they have their limitations and like you and me they also have good and bad days. The canine ability to detect odors, depending on the canine's training and experience is better than 100 times that of a human. Canines don't know how to lie, lack of the handlers experience can cause the canine to false alert but I would bet my life on it and have bet my life on my dog many times, that the canine did in fact detect odor, now the question is was he directed properly by the human handler? Canine's abilities have been proven countless times as recon dogs as early as pre-civil war, in every armed conflict we've fought in by the way to preserve your right to author such bullshit, in countless narcotic operations dating back before you and I were born. The canine won the support of the courts because unlike you and I, they don't pick a left or right side of things, they simply do as they are trained and again they don't know how to lie. Anytime you see a weak detector dog, it usually stems from the human part of the team. I welcome people standing up for what they think, I just wish those folks would research their subject before they insert their foot in their mouth.

Ross Wilson said...

Anonymous,

You may be (and probably are) right that "dogs don't lie." But, as you point out, the mistakes result from humans who rely on cues from the dogs for information. It may be the handler, the trainer, or any other number of factors. I can't imagine that anyone here wants to blame the dogs for lying. We blame the humans for misinterpreting or misusing information they get from the dogs' behavior and for bringing the dogs into schools when time after time their human handlers have failed to find drugs.

I think dogs are man's best friend. When it comes to canine searches gone wrong, it's the humans, stupid.

Anonymous said...

Okay Ross Idiot I told myself I wasn't going to get into a name calling or that I would even visit this site again but I did, shame on me. Now I have to respond. Look you read my response but you're missing some points. Yes, most canine mistakes are manmade, now put that aside. How do we know this dog at this school made a mistake? Is it because dope wasn't found? I bet your answer is "well yes" wrong dumbass. As I said before the dog's ability to detect odor is far superior to ours. The odor of the dope can linger hours if not days depending on the amount and freshness of the dope. Also school lockers are not air tight allowing odor to drift easily. Odors will also usually sit high or in corners. Test this theory... If you're smart enough to light a candle let it burn for a few minutes then blow it out and watch where the smoke travels and sits. Wow, science lesson 101. The dog nor the handler were probably wrong, the fact is that the odor of the dope probably travelled several lockers in any direction. I bet my paycheck that there was dope in the area if not pin pointed to the exact locker. Let's get off that and move to the point of SO WHAT. Were the kids of these lockers, arrested? suspended from school? sent to drug rehab? My guess is nothing happened. They opened their lockers, no dope was found and they went on their way, again SO WHAT!!! This policy is there to protect the kids as much as anything else. If dope is found, the child gets HELP if no dope is found then the event is over. Free air search is not a invasion of anyone rights. Asking someone to open a locker paid for by tax payers money is not a invasion of rights, bring illegal controlled items into a school is a invasion. I've had three children in high school, I would prefer someone checking their school for drugs, and yes even their lockers. Don't you as a parent check their room at home occasionally? Probably not. And what was this crap about " I've heard drug sniffing dogs do in fact, snarl at students". Well I've heard that if a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his ass when he jumped. Now Ross, go hug a tree or smell some flowers and stop bumping your ass on the ground when you jump but more importantly stop talking about something you have no clue of and let the police and the dogs do the job they're trained for, you might need them someday. They will be there for you no matter how big an idiot you are.

Anonymous said...

You know, really shouldn't drink and blog... it puts us all at risk.

I bet your children are frightened of you. I really hope none of them get into serious problems with drugs, because obviously daddy's not the one to talk to (he seems to have substance problems of his own).

Oh, and trust me, Ross is no tree hugger, but he does indeed bump his ass on the dance floor.

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