Drug-sniffing dogs in the schools: what’s the rationale?

drugsniffingdog In last week’s Northfield News: School search comes up empty. Their editorial this week: Drug dog search good start at schools. Kiffi Summa suggested in Tracy’s Locally Grown Open Mic blog post that we blog on this topic and Curt Benson followed up. I’ve included their comments below. I’ve not made up my own mind about this but I wish there was something on the Northfield School District’s web site that explained the rationale for its policy and procedures. (continued)

The Northfield Student Citizenship Handbook states on page 11:

If conditions warrant technology (including drug sniffing dogs, cameras, metal detectors, etc.) may be used to ensure safety of students, staff, buildings and grounds.

Kiffi Summa wrote:

I think a good discussion for this “open mic” section of LG might center on the drug dog searches at the high school.

The NF News has an editorial on this subject today which I frankly think is a very shallow comment on this important event.

I don’t view the search as one which has any value except to say to those who are uniformed by a realistic youth perspective, and who want to have simple assurances, that “something is being done”.

In many various meetings, in many various venues, the kids have essentially said, “wha d’ya think, we’re stupid? Kids don’t keep drugs in their lockers, which they know can be searched!”
I would feel better about the school district taking the drug issues seriously, if they would listen to the kids, and stop acting defensively.
These drug dog searches are promoting a false sense of reality; a false sense of security.

And on a purely $$$ point, what is the cost of these searches? the dogs belong to Rice County I believe, and they and their handlers have an assignable cost ( although I asked what that cost was at a follow up meeting to the big drug conversations last year, I could not get an answer, even asking repeatedly). It became quite obvious the cost was not going to be discussed.

Is the cost of these searches borne by the school dist? What is the cost per hour, dogs and handlers, and for the entire event? And is that cost covered by the NF payment of $4500 annually to the Rice County Drug Task Force? I would imagine it is not.

For these reasons, and more, I think a larger and more factual exploration of the subject is warranted.

Curt Benson wrote:

Kiffi, I agree that this a subject worth discussing. I was told that Rice County has one dog. The other dogs (and handlers I presume) were borrowed from other counties for this last search.

I remember you asking about the cost of the first search at the meeting you reference and remember that you weren’t satisfied with the answer. I didn’t think the officers were being purposely misleading. It was hard for them to put a price tag on the searches because the counties already had dogs–and they were used for other purposes besides searching schools. And the counties help each other out as sort of a professional courtesy. I do remember being told that the school system did not have to write a check for the search.

Obviously, the dogs and handlers aren’t free. Somebody, somewhere pays for them. But I can see why it would be hard to put a valid number on what a single search of a school costs.


  1. Anthony Pierre said:

    isn’t moving to the united states from a different country giving up too?

    February 10, 2009
  2. Peter Millin said:


    Not if you find the love of your live and she happens to be American… The added bonus is, to live in the greatest country in the world.

    February 10, 2009

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