GALLIA COUNTY — Several agencies led by the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office performed random drug sweeps through all three local high schools last week. Local administrators in Gallia County and Gallipolis City School Districts coordinated with local law enforcement to perform the sweeps as a preventative measure.
“We try to accommodate the needs of the school, and coordinate efforts with a lot of different dog teams in the area,” said Sheriff Matt Champlin. “We use as many dogs as we can get so we are getting in, getting it done in a timely manner, and getting back out.”
This last sweep involved 11 dog teams, sending two teams to both school districts. This practice is not only to catch offenders and substance abuse in the schools, but also serves as a deterrent.
“It’s as much a deterrent, we want the kids to understand that it’s our priority to keep the schools safe, and drugs out of the schools,” stated Champlin.
Working with the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office was the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Rio Grande Police Department, Mason County Sheriff’s Department, and Jackson Police Department. This inclusion helps increase the efficiency of the sweeps, and also promotes K9 training for law enforcement K9 officers in the area.
There is no schedule for drug sweeps, ensuring that they are random and not predictable. At the request of the administrators, the School Resource Officers coordinate with the SO to plan and execute the sweeps. SRO’s can request sweeps if any suspicious behaviors or suspicion of substance abuse in the schools.
“Unfortunately, we do have high schoolers and middle schoolers that have substance abuse problems. It’s our job as law enforcement and the schools job as administrators, and our job collectively to create an environment in the schools where the kids know they’re going to be held accountable,” said Champlin.
He also explained that this system is designed to cause people to think first about the consequences of bringing drugs into schools before they do, knowing that law enforcement is focusing on the schools.
“We are committed to safe and drug free schools. We will work with our local authorities to do everything we can to make sure that we do that,” stated Jude Meyers, superintendent of Gallia County Local Schools.
According to Sheriff Champlin, nothing was found in the sweep.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108 or firstname.lastname@example.org.