CHAPMANVILLE — Law enforcement, including three members of the canine unit, made a visit to Chapmanville Regional High School to check the school and parking lots for the presence of illegal drugs.
The search was coordinated by school administration, the Chapmanville Police Department and the Logan County Sheriff’s Department. Drug abuse among high school students is a serious concern and they believe unscheduled visits to schools may be a deterrent that keeps students from bringing drugs on campus.
Logan County Sheriff Sonya Porter said searching the school is about prevention and safety, not making arrests.
“We are all hoping nothing is found at the school,” said Porter ,”But if something is found, the search may save a life or get someone’s feet back on the right track.”
Kimbo, Jett and Devlin are members of the Sheriff’s Department’s canine unit and are trained to detect the presence of drugs. The dogs each live with a deputy, who received instruction on how to handle and continue to train the dog.
The dogs are passive and do not bark or attack to indicate they have detected something; they sit by and look at the suspect location. Having dogs whose personality is more docile minimizes the apprehension or threat students may feel when the dogs are present.
During the search, the dogs and their trainers walked though the school’s halls, sniffing lockers, classrooms and common areas as well as parking lots as members of school administration, their trainers and other members of law enforcement observed.
There were two citations issued by the Chapmanville Police Department for tobacco which was found, but no other drugs were found inside the school.
In the parking lot of the school; however, the dogs “hit” on three vehicles. Two of the vehicles were clear, but marijuana and a substance believed to be methamphetamine was found in the third vehicle.
The student who was the driver of the vehicle was present as the vehicle was searched, then escorted inside the school after the drugs were discovered. The investigation is ongoing.
The dogs were recently utilized in an unscheduled search of Man High School and no presence of drugs was indicated.
The canine unit has also been called on to assist with cases being investigated by the West Virginia State Police and the City of Logan Police Department. During the recent search of a post office, Devlin sniffed out a package containing a pound of marijuana. The dogs have also been used to check packages at United Parcel Service (UPS).
Costs to initiate the canine unit, which included the cost for the dogs and all training and instruction for them and their trainers was $20,000. The costs were split 50-50 between the Sheriff’s Department and the Logan County Commission.