Photo: Tryont, the K-9 that visited Kaneland High School, has undergone extensive training and can sometimes detect the smell of drugs even a few days after they have been removed from a locker or other location. Photo by Samantha Schrepferman
by Courtney Diddell
Kaneland Krier Reporter
KANELAND—A K-9 unit from the Kane County Sheriff’s Office demonstrated how drug searches are conducted for contemporary health classes at Kaneland High School on March 7.
Health teacher Cindy Miller has been bringing in Kane County police officers to present to her class for eight years.
“I’m trying to teach the kids about the training with the dog, how they work and what they are supposed to do,” Miller said. “It’s an interesting demo.”
Deputy Nicholas Wolf has been a K-9 officer for 10 years and has trained and worked with three dogs throughout his working experience. He describes them as “scent-discriminating animals.”
“They are just another tool for us, but I cried like a baby when my first two dogs passed away,” Wolf said.
Senior Carolina Tovar, who attended the presentation, said she thought it was interesting but wouldn’t change how some Kaneland students feel about bringing drugs to school.
“People who bring drugs to school think they’re invincible,” Tovar said.
Wolf’s current K-9, Tryont, is certified in narcotics detection, tracking, building searches, evidence recovery, suspect apprehension and handler protection. They are also assigned to the Kane County SWAT team.
The most common thing the dogs search for in a school are illegal drugs and people who have either been doing, selling or buying drugs. Although drugs are not frequently found at Kaneland High School, Sheriff’s Resource Officer Keith Gardner said when he does find prescription medication and marijuana, they are most commonly found in bathrooms and lockers.
“It was interesting to see how easily dogs were able to find drugs anywhere, no matter how hidden they were,” Tovar said.
Police officials can perform searches anytime even at the slightest suspicion, Gardner said.
“School property is subject to search. Usually we have reasonable suspicion or anonymous tips,” he said.
Miller thinks that students should know more about these searches and the consequence of getting caught.
“I think kids need to understand that we can have the dogs do searches whenever we want,” she said.
When Wolf and Tryont reach their suspect, they must allow the suspect to surrender according to law, but as soon as they don’t, the dog is released to attack.
“We give people the chance to surrender legally, but once they don’t, they’ve chosen their own path,” Wolf said.
Tovar said she couldn’t see herself working with a K-9 dog due to their aggression.
“They’re too scary and aggressive,” he said.
It would take four hours to search a building with just the men, but with dogs it only takes half that time at the most, Wolf said.
“Dogs have one million more sense cells then humans, and that’s why we use them,” he said.
“The scent lasts longer to dogs then it does to us, and they can smell it from farther away,” Gardner said.
Tovar thinks Miller should continue this presentation in Contemporary Health.
“It was really informative and cool to see how excited the police officer was,” Tovar said.