Moffat County High School conducts drug search

Drug-sniffing dogs check lockers, parking lot

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Drug-sniffing dogs swept Moffat County High School Tuesday as students were locked down for the afternoon.

The random search was scheduled by the Craig Police Department and Moffat County School District, and was not related to a Colorado State Patrol warning to schools released the same day.

"These random drug searches are part of our ongoing efforts, in cooperation with the schools, to maintain a secure environment for students," Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said. "As a normal rule, we conduct these searches about once a year."

Vanatta said the search had been scheduled in advance, and was not related to a state patrol warning regarding a telephone call received Tuesday in Denver that threatened "another Columbine" at a high school in Colorado.

"At about ten to one, we got a call from the state patrol down in Denver telling us they had received a phone call from someone saying at one o'clock there would be 'another Columbine' at a high school somewhere in the state," Vanatta said. "I called Jane to let her know about it, but we had no indications there was any problem up at Moffat County High School."

In response to the call from Vanatta, the high school placed extra teachers in the hallway and additional staff at the perimeter of the school grounds, but the lockdown was solely based upon drug searches, MCHS Principal Jane Krogman said.

Two drug-sniffing dogs from the Rio Blanco Sheriff's Office searched the high school's lockers and parking lots for marijuana and any opiate-based narcotics, such as cocaine and heroin. The dogs marked 20 lockers and two vehicles for search, but no drugs were discovered.

Vanatta said the positive "hits" the dogs discover are based on odor, so any residue or scent leftover from drugs would set the dogs off because of the dogs highly-tuned senses. When the dogs react after sniffing a locker or car, the police mark it down and turn over the information to the school administration, who conduct the actual searches. Anything illegal that is discovered is then turned over to the police department.

"The school district is committed to providing a safe and drug-free school environment," Krogman said. "We asked, with the approval of the Board of Education, for the assistance of the Craig Police Department to conduct random drug searches."

"We will continue to work together to provide our students with a safe and drug-free school environment."

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