During a routine parking lot search at Timber Creek High School last month, drug-detecting dogs hit on a scent in a student vehicle that led to one of district’s biggest marijuana busts on school property.
“We could tell the student was distributing it, the way he had it packaged for sale,” said Kevin Kinley, the Keller school district’s director of safety and security.
During the 2014-15 school year, there were 247 drug dog detection visits by Black Creek K-9 Services to Keller district secondary schools and 33 “finds” of drugs on campuses, all of them at high schools.
“The majority of ‘finds’ are in vehicles,” Kinley said.
Never miss a local story.
247 The number of times drug dogs visited Keller school district secondary campuses during the 2014-15 school year
Detection is just one of the reasons Kinley wants drug dogs to come to Keller schools. He also values the roles they play in education and prevention.
As part of Red Ribbon Week last week, Adam Black, owner of Black Creek K-9 Services, and his Belgian Malinois drug-detecting dog Xavi visited dozens of area schools to demonstrate to young students how his dogs work. He also talked about the history of Red Ribbon Week and heroes.
“We talk about how we honor heroes,” Black said. “We honor them by making good decisions.”
With teens, the message of the drug dogs is deterrence.
“As soon as students see Adam and the dogs come on campus, the cellphones start lighting up,” Kinley said.
33 The number of times in 2014-15 drug dogs found contraband in Keller schools
Black said a parent approached him on a recent visit to tell him about a teen warning a friend on social media “to hide his stash.”
Random intervals and frequent visits are keys to preventing kids from taking drugs to school. The dogs were in each of the Keller district’s four high schools multiple times a month.
“They’re not coming in once a month or once in a blue moon. We’ll hear the kids say, ‘The dogs are back again,’ ” Kinley said.
They’re not coming in once a month or once in a blue moon. We’ll hear the kids say, The dogs are back again.
Kevin Kinley, KISD director of safety and security
Officials also call for service if they suspect drugs are on campus. Keller pays $60,000 a year for the service.
Marijuana is the most commonly used drug among middle and high school students statewide, according to the Texas School Survey of Drug and Alcohol Use: 2014. More than 23 percent of students surveyed said they had used marijuana, including 38.2 percent of seniors. Synthetic marijuana had been used by 6.6 percent of the students surveyed, and ecstasy had been used by 2.7 percent.
Marijuana is the most commonly used drug among middle and high school students statewide, according ot the Texas School Survey of Drug and Alcohol Use: 2014. More than 23 percent of students surveyed said they had used marijuana, including 38.2 percent of seniors.
‘A visible proactive approach’
Other area districts also have some type of drug dog service, but not at the frequency of the Keller contract.
Black Creek K-9 Services covers many of the secondary schools in the Northwest school district with about 20 searches annually. The exceptions are the campuses in Trophy Club, where police now provide drug dog detection free to the school district.
Similar to Keller, the Northwest school district has drug dog demonstrations during Red Ribbon Week.
Emily Conklin, director of communications, said, “K-9 visits and presentations are a fantastic service to our NISD community. A visible proactive approach has been welcomed.”
Keeps students ‘safe and aware’
Carroll has drug dog service provided by the Southlake Police K9 unit, which visits Carroll Senior High School at random times each month to inspect vehicles and classrooms. Police officers and drug dogs also go to Carroll High School every three or four weeks and as requested by school officials.
Grapevine-Colleyville schools use Interquest Detection Canines for around 15 visits each year to secondary schools.
Anita Clayton, Grapevine-Colleyville’s director of student services, said that district officials also can call out the drug dogs if they have suspicions of drugs on a campus, in addition to the random checks.
“The dogs don’t always find something, which is a good thing, but it sure helps to keep our students safe and aware,” Clayton said.