Officers and agents from Rittman, Doylestown, Wooster and Medway Drug Enforcement brought their drug-sniffing dogs into the halls of the high schools in Rittman and Doylestown on Friday on a routine search.
The Rittman Middle-High School was put on lockdown, however, when Principal Nick Evans made the announcement, he reiterated there was not an emergency. The students were told they must remain in their rooms with the doors shut and no one was allowed in the hallways.
While the sweeps turned up nothing, dogs were alerted to a vehicle in the Rittman High School parking lot and to a couple of locker locations.
The dogs can pick up the tiniest scent, Evans said. Sometimes when a dog alerts to a "hit," it might not be because drugs were found. Sometimes the scent is on an article of clothing or a book bag.
Rittman Police officer Dave Miller and his dog, Trooper, searched the lockers in the Rittman High School wing, while Doylestown Police Lt. Casey Tester and his dog, Qoose, searched the middle school side. Both dogs demonstrated a change of behavior while they were sniffing the lockers.
Qoose came over and alerted to the same spot as Trooper. When Trooper went to the middle school side, he also indicated he detected something by sitting down.
While Trooper and Qoose worked inside, Wooster patrolman Josh Timko with Haro, and Medway agents Jason Waddell and Andrew Koch with Emil, searched the parking lot.
Evans, Assistant Principal Keri Hamsher and dean of students Bill Dennis searched the lockers and the vehicle, but nothing was found.
The goal is to look for drug paraphernalia and drugs, Miller said. "We want to curb drug abuse and drugs brought into school."
The searches are a "big deterrent to show kids we are serious," Tester said. "We bring dogs in unannounced. … We didn't find anything (at Doylestown High School), which is a good sign."
"We are trying to keep drugs out of the hands of our students and get them before they're addicted," Waddell said.
"It's pretty rare we find anything," Rittman Chief Mike Burg said. "I think it's a good deterrent. It lets people know we are trying to stay on top of the problem before it gets out of hand with the students."
Reporter Bobby Warren can be reached at 330-287-1639 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He is @BobbyWarrenTDR on Twitter.