"New Border War": Drug Sweep at Central High

Cheyenne, Wyo. (KGWN) On January 1st sales of recreational marijuana became legal in the state of Colorado. With pot shops just an hour and a half drive from Cheyenne the Question comes up, is marijuana going to become more accessible in the Capital City? No matter the answer to this question the Cheyenne Police Department and Laramie County School District 1 will continue to keep the drug from becoming a problem.

On February 11th, CBS NewsChannel 5 was invited along on a routine drug sweep at Central High School. The sweep took place outside in the East parking lot. Principal Dr. Steve Newton is thankful for the opportunity work alongside CPD in these sweeps to keep his school drug free. Dr. Newton has seen first hand what drugs can do to students .

"I've been in the education business for 20 years and I've seen lives unravel and families destroyed because of substance abuse," said Dr. Newton.

The school system works alongside the police department. If any narcotics are discovered on campus in these sweeps it is the school's choice of punishment. In this partnership if the school feels it necessary to involve the police department it can. If not the punishment is decided by the school.

"The work that we do in conjunction with the police department is one of our biggest deterrents, with a coordinated effort our community can attack community problems. I couldn't be more happy with the officers I've coordinated with," Dr. Newton goes on to say he believes Central High School does not have a drug problem.

"We all have to recognize that anytime kids make decisions that alter their minds it takes us steps further away from being able to accomplish our primary mission, which is to educate our kids," says Newton.

During the drug sweep on February 11th the K-9 unit being used did detect one of four odors it has been trained to pick up on; marijuana, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. Officer and K-9 Handler Patrick Johnston says there really aren't "false alarms".

"If narcotics have been used in a vehicle or have been transported or somebody has had them in the vehicle there may be an odor. The dogs are not trained to find narcotics the dog is trained to find the odor." according to officer Johnston.

In this case no drugs were found in the vehicle after it was searched. The K-9 unit used on this particular day is named Nico. Nico is one of three K-9 units utilized by the Cheyenne Police Department. In 2013 Nico performed about 600 sweeps that included residencies and probation checks. School campus sweeps alone Nico averaged 30 to 40 checks each month.

There were several small incidents starting the school year out involving marijuana at Central High School. There have been no drug discoveries as a result of the sweeps since the first month of school in the 2013/14 academic year. The police department and school district feels the use of K-9 units and school resource officers has helped keep drugs out of Cheyenne schools.

Play the video to hear more from Principal Newton and members of the Cheyenne Police Department.

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