Drug dogs campus bound

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By CLAIRE ST. JOHN

Dogs aren't allowed on most school campuses, but those with the skills to sniff out liquor, drugs and bullets will be welcomed to Sonora High School tomorrow.

To introduce the drug dogs to the student body, administrators will have an assembly at 8:50 a.m. demonstrating the dogs' abilities in detecting things that just don't belong at school.

Drug dogs haven't patrolled the halls of Sonora High for about 10 years, said Assistant Principal Chace Anderson, but this year, the Site Council made up of administrators, teachers, parents and students felt strongly about reintroducing the furry narcs at the school.

The dogs aren't expected to collar a lot of kids, but rather make them think twice before bringing illegal drugs to class.

"This is a deterrent; it's not to catch and punish," Anderson said. "The parents on the Site Council don't think this will change the habits of people who already engage in that lifestyle."

But it will stop them from bringing drugs, guns or alcohol to campus and distributing them to other kids, Anderson said.

The Site Council contracted with Kontraband Interdiction and Detection Services for 20 visits 10 at Sonora High School and 10 at the alternative education campus on South Barretta Street.

Visits will be random.

The dogs are highly trained and won't search or spot unless given the commands by handlers. The dogs will only sniff parked, closed cars, lockers and unattended backpacks. Students will not be searched.

The dogs are able to detect illegal substances and ignore prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

That, Anderson said, was a problem with the last crop of drug dogs they focused on kids with aspirin in their backpacks, prompting embarrassing and needless searches.

Parents are welcome to check in at the front office and attend the assembly for a demonstration of the dogs' search techniques and more information on the program.

Contact Claire St. John at cstjohn@uniondemocrat.com .

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