Drug-sniffing dogs to search Algonquin on Thursday

by susan on March 13, 2013

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As part of an effort to dissuade students from bringing drugs to schools, police will use drug-sniffing dogs to search inside Algonquin for illegal substances. They’ll also search any cars parked on school grounds. It will mark the first time ever K-9 units have been used to search for drugs at the school.

On Monday Northborough Police Chief Mark Leahy visited Algonquin to inform students of the search. In a statement Leahy acknowledged the effort will not prevent students from using drugs outside of school, but said the goal is to dissuade students from having drugs on school grounds.

Read more in this statement from the Northborough Police Department.

On Thursday morning, March 14, 2013, members of the Northborough Police Department, assisted by members of the Massachusetts State Police K-9 Unit and Southborough Police Departments will conduct a search of Algonquin Regional High School for illegal drugs. State Police narcotics detection canines will search the interior of the school and the vehicles parked in the school parking lots. The search is expected to begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude by 11:00 a.m.

Any illegal drugs found will result in a criminal prosecution in addition to any school administrative actions. This is the first use of drug dogs at Algonquin, and came after thoughtful conversations between police and school officials. This is a proactive measure to insure that no illegal drugs are present on our school campus.

On Monday, February 11, 2013, Northborough Police Chief Mark K. Leahy visited Algonquin and spoke with students in all four grades. The students were informed that a drug search would be forthcoming; that the students would be told the date and time of the search; that criminal prosecution would accompany any illegal drugs found; and that, subsequent to the announced search there would be future unscheduled searches as well.

Chief Leahy explained to the students and staff that the goal was to remove illegal drugs from the school and its grounds, as part of a larger school safety initiative. The Chief also explained that, if no illegal drugs were located, he would consider the day a success.

“Our goal is to remove illegal drugs from the campus, period. We will not measure success in the number of arrests made. If we do not find any drugs in the search, I’ll be pleased that we successfully conveyed our message to the students,” Chief Leahy said.

The Chief said that police realize they have difficulty controlling illegal drug use in a home basement, in the woods behind someone’s home, or in a car driving around town, but stated that they will do everything they can to keep illegal drugs out of our schools and off school grounds.

1 MJ March 13, 2013 at 9:28 PM

If they wanted this to be successful, why would they not only announce it, but publicize it too?

2 Southville March 14, 2013 at 7:39 AM

Only the first search will be announced: “…subsequent to the announced search there would be future unscheduled searches as well.”

I think it makes sense, let kids know what’s coming, and how things are going to be enforced going forward. These are kids we’re talking about, and if they are going to criminally prosecute anyone they find. I think it shows good restraint and compassion to give them a warning, give them a chance to change behavior before introducing something that could derail a young life before they reach adulthood.

3 DLD March 14, 2013 at 7:07 AM

If any student is found with drugs after all of this warning, they should automatically be sent back to Kintergarden (full day) no questions asked.

4 Pat Q. March 14, 2013 at 7:17 AM

I have “heard” that this first search is done out in the open (a great visual for the kids)
and subsequent ones will be done radomly. Can’t be sure of this….can anyone confirm?

5 Rob March 14, 2013 at 7:48 AM

It was meant to deter students.

6 mike March 14, 2013 at 9:52 AM

This is great and well over due. My son has been telling me now for some time that Algonquin is known as the drug center for this area of Massachusetts. And I checked with both Principal Mead and Chief Moran of Southborough because I thought announcing it was odd, but all future events will not be choreographed.

7 Frank Crowell March 14, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Maybe St Mark’s should be on the radar screen as well.

8 Al Hamilton March 14, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Frank

While your suggestion might be a good idea, Algonquin is a public facility. The police can enter at any time unannounced. St. Marks is private and the police would either need a warrant or the consent of the St Marks admin.

9 Frank Crowell March 15, 2013 at 9:04 AM

Al,

Yes, I agree. Certainly looks like the police asked Algonquin admin. for permission whether it was needed or not. If I were the police chief I would be at least engaging in that conversation with St Mark’s.

10 Mark Ford March 14, 2013 at 1:44 PM

It’d be instructive to have a “demo” of how good these dogs are…hide some Marijuana at an assembly and let the dogs find it. That would give kids pause.

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