Recently, Moore County School parents received a message announcing a partnership with K2 Solutions starting this spring. Teams from K2 Solutions will begin visiting middle and high schools in Moore County with K-9 teams to detect/deter drugs, weapons, and explosions.

The message concluded, “This new practice will continue into the foreseeable future as the district continues to make the safety, health, and welfare of our students a top priority.”

According to Catherine Murphy, Moore County Schools Director of Communication, “This partnership has been in the works since 2018, and the recent incidents in Carthage did not have a bearing on the decision to partner with K2 Solutions.”

A local resident received a letter containing an unknown white powder which he brought to the Carthage Police Station. Shortly after that, a students backpack was discovered at the Moore County School Administration Building which is also located in Carthage.  Both incidents resulted in a massive response by local and state law enforcement, but there were no injuries or damage

According to Murphy the Moore County Schools have signed a Memorandum of Agreement that runs through June 2020, unless terminated by one of the parties. There is no cost to the schools associated with this partnership.

A local K-9 training expert called it “great for both K2 solutions which will have realistic venues to train their animals and the schools because the dogs can be a tremendous deterrence.”

“This partnership is a win-win for both parties in that K2 has the opportunity to develop and maintain the skills of their canines while the schools have the opportunity to detect and deter any anticipated threats to school safety or criminal activity,” said Murphy.

There are ongoing legal questions of whether or not the use of K-9 units in public schools violate the 4th amendment prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures.

In 1985, the Supreme Court ruled that school searches were permitted when there were reasonable grounds to suspect the student was violating the law or rules of the school (NJ vs. TLO).

Recent court challenges have centered on whether random searches are permitted by the 4th amendment. In March, 2013 the U.S. 8th district court of appeals ruled that such searches were legal because the schools “have a legitimate need to main an environment where learning can take place.”(C.M v. Springfield Public Schools)

In spite of the legal questions concerning the use of police dogs in public schools, their use has been growing recently.

According to experts, dogs have a keen sense of smell (olfactory capability) 10,000 times more sensitive than a human and can detect odors which a human being could not. A properly trained dog can smell illegal drugs even if they are sealed in plastic bags and can be trained to detect explosives, weapons, and other contraband.

Some local police agencies have K-9 units, but according to Murphy, they were otherwise committed. She added that Moore County Schools “are constantly considering ways to add additional layers of safety and security to our school campuses.”

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Local News/Government Reporter Chris Prentice.

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