Random drug search at GHS nets one hit

Mike Moore photo
Casper Police Department officer Ben Baedke walks K-9 Vinn to another section of Glenrock Junior/Senior High School with Converse County School District No. 2 Superintendent Coley Shadrick (at right) during a random drug search of the facility Nov. 20, which resulted in one hit on marijuana.

By: 
Mike Moore mike@glenrockind.com

Half-opened backpacks, laptops with screens still illuminating class work and books propped open to hold a page created an eerie atmosphere in what is typically a vibrant school setting during the midday hours at Glenrock Junior/Senior High School just before Thanksgiving break Nov. 20.
Officers suited up in solid-black and blue uniforms gripped the leashes of K9 drug dogs as a surprise drug search ensued of the expansive facility. In the meantime, approximately 260 students pulled out of their classrooms mingled in the school’s gymnasium.
For the second consecutive year, a collaboration between the Glenrock Police Department and Converse County School District No. 2 allowed for such a search to occur. Prior to the search in late 2017, the school had not been searched for drugs in more than seven years.
This year’s search consisted of officers Ben Baedke and Cark Krugler with K-9 dogs Vinn and Jopie from the Casper Police, along with GPD’s Bill Frieda and local K-9, Yara.
The trio went from classroom to classroom, searching the school for approximately half an hour before sending the eager student body back to class to finish out the day. No hits were notified to handlers inside the school, but Frieda and Yara came up with one positive hit within the parking lot that resulted in the discovery of marijuana, according to GPD interim chief Jason Hoppa.
Conducting a drug sweep at this scale requires a good deal of secrecy, Hoppa noted, stating that only officers, high school principal Mark Fritz and district superintendent Coley Shadrick knew about the upcoming search and had their approval to come in with the K-9 units. Last year’s search wasn’t as much of a secret, which could have played a factor in the search coming up without any positive hits.
“It’s hard to say what we may have missed out on this time (if others knew),” Hoppa said of the heightened secrecy bringing a hit on marijuana. “It was more obscure.”
Shadrick says the district has a policy that outlines random drug searches with canines and noted the district’s zero-tolerance policy for controlled substances including alcohol, drugs and tobacco. He says having random searches sends the message to students that possessing any of these controlled substances is not tolerated. He also stated that it is the district’s job to provide a safe and positive environment, and that controlled substances are not conducive to being positive and safe at all.
Last year’s search only combed a handful of classrooms, while this year was more thorough.
“Our goal is to do it randomly with no rhyme or reason,” Shadrick said. “You will probably see it once or twice a school year.”
Hoppa says the amount of marijuana found was small, and that the individual in possession is under the age of 18. Regardless, the individual will still be charged in juvenile court, the interim chief said.
With two searches in as many years, Hoppa says they won’t be slowing down any time soon with random upcoming sweeps at the high school down the road.
“It is something we want to continue to do,” Hoppa said. “Safety in school is one of the top priorities we have as well as the school system. We want to keep everyone safe and those products out of the schools.”
He went on to add that he believed the search was efficient and went well overall. With that, he said they will continue with future searches, but they will be obscure in nature.
“We covered the areas that needed to be covered,” Hoppa said. “I think it went very well and is good training.”
In addition, the collaboration between school officials and local police in conducting these searches helps strengthen relationships in the long run.
“We just feel very strongly with having a great relationship and want to thank all the officers that were there to dedicate their time to help us,” Shadrick said.

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