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20 April 2006

Crummy Old Wine Archive: Spectral Evidence Is Back! Support Your Local Dogs!

A new breed of police dog
can sniff you through the Internet.
(Clicking for larger will increase
the dog's ability to smell you.)

The Narragansett Times
Narragansett Massachusetts USA

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Added: Monday February 16, 2004 at 07:29 AM EST

The suspension of a NHS student on the "testimony" of a pot-sniffing dog, when no drugs were found and no arrest made, boot-kicks New England justice back to the Salem witch trials, when people were condemned on "spectral evidence" of invisible devils and demons.

Spectral evidence was specifically banned after the Salem atrocities and perversions of justice. But now it's returned as a centerpiece of modern justice, and we are all at the mercy of evidence provided by dogs.

A dog cannot take an oath; a dog cannot testify; a dog cannot tell the truth, or lie; a dog does not understand the difference. Drug dogs meet no recognized scientific standards of reliability, and are notoriously unreliable. They regularly give "false positives" in anticipation of a treat and the approval of their police handlers.

The student's suspension in a drug-related matter (or so says a dog) will remain on his transcript and dog him for life, as he applies to college and seeks employment.

Would you trust a dog to ruin your child's life? Would you trust a public school administrator who trusts a dog to know the guilt or innocence of your child?

Robert Merkin

Added: Saturday February 14, 2004 at 12:28 PM EST

Isn't it simply amazing in America, how the second a student walks into his highschool, it seems his rights are all but destroyed. This student has been presumed guilty before proven innocent--punished by a dog barking in a general direction.

Smell is not guilt.

Peter Daveloose


Top Stories

Dogs sniff drugs
at NHS



NARRAGANSETT -- Who let the dogs out?

Last Friday morning marked the first random search by police canines for drugs at Narragansett High School, leading to four locker searches and one student suspension.

No actual contraband was found and no arrests were made, said Narragansett Police Chief J. David Smith in a telephone interview Monday morning.

"The dogs did indicate that four separate locations in the school were positive for scent," he added.

Two scent-positive locations in the junior hallway and two in the senior hallway were searched by administration, and while no drugs were found, in one locker, "the smell [of marijuana] was overwhelming," said Smith.

School administrators suspended the locker's owner for three days.

The scent in the student's locker was an indication of "residual use," of marijuana, said Superintendent Pia Durkin in a telephone interview Monday.

And part of the drug search project is to confront "the addiction issue before it becomes a legal issue," she said.

After school Monday, junior Sean Hames, 17, said he was surprised that a student could be suspended from school for something that could have happened outside of school.

And, he said, "He could have just been in a car full of students smoking weed," and not necessarily using drugs himself.

He called the drug searches "an invasion of privacy," and felt they were being used as a scare tactic.

Smith calls the searches a deterrent. "We feel it sends a very strong message."

At meetings last December among school and police officials, a persistent "sub-culture" of drug use was identified, and on December 17 Smith presented the canine searches to the school committee.

An informational letter was sent home to parents, and students were informed of the procedure basics in advance of last Friday's search.

The information helped to reduce anxiety, said Durkin.

The advance information may have also been a heads-up to potential offenders, said Narragansett High School junior Holly Bezak, 17, outside the high school Monday.

"I don't think they should have told students about it ahead of time, because everybody knew not to leave anything in their locker," she said.

Neither she nor junior Kerrie Lemoi, 16, think the drug presence on campus is serious enough to warrant the searches.

"It's definitely not necessary," said Lemoi.

But they also aren't concerned about the searches.

"Nobody really cares," said Lemoi of the student sentiment. "Every school has it."

Bezak said while the searches didn't bother her, "Maybe it's because I don't have anything to worry about."

John Dossantos, 16, a sophomore, said the searches are "Wack. They don't search Providence, but they search little Narragansett."

During Friday's search, three dogs and their handlers - K-9s from the Westerly Police Department and the Rhode Island State Police, and Narragansett's own K-9, "Rocki" - canvassed sections of the school starting at about 7:35 a.m. and through first period.

The Westerly and state police K-9s performed the in-door searches and Rocki searched the parking lot.

Only Smith and Durkin knew about the search beforehand - school administration was notified at about 6:45 a.m. that morning, said Smith.

Both he and Durkin were present for the first search, but will not necessarily be present in the future.

"We just kind of wanted to see how it was going to go," said Smith.

Students were on "lockdown" during the searches, for first period classes - a drill procedure that became state mandate in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and will continue to coincide with the drug searches at the high school.

Students who came late were kept in the office, including sophomore Alex Smith, 15, who missed his first period class.

"As long as they're not going through my stuff, I don't care," he said after school Monday.

Most of the students did not see the search dogs, although Lemoi's first period class was in a classroom at the front of the building, and she saw them out the window.

Friday's search did run a little over time because of the "learning curve," said Smith, lasting about half an hour, but he expects the random drills to last about 20 minutes in the future.

Dogs will search areas like lockers, parking areas, and the faculty lounge, and procedure indicates that only when two dogs positively identify an area will school officials search the area.

©The Narragansett Times 2006


Pubdate: Wed, 19 Nov 2003
Source: Charleston City Paper, The (SC)
Copyright: 2003 The Charleston City Paper
Author: Robert Merkin


Michael Graham's attack on the drug raid at Stratford High School ("The Usual Suspects," Nov. 12) completely ignores the evidence of student drug possession which members of the Goose Creek Police raiding party uncovered.

According to one member of the police team, "Woof woof. Bark woof woof bark. Bark."

Another police team member has stated that "Ruff ruff. Bark woof bark. Arf bark woof woof."

These members of the Goose Creek Police raiding team are prepared to place their paws on the Bible and testify about student drug possession under oath before a grand jury.

No decent member of the community should doubt the barks of these dedicated anti-drug police agents. Doubtless the largely African-American Stratford students who were the targets of the drug raid will deny the testimony of these highly trained and dedicated experts, who smell illegal and invisible substances far better than human beings do.

Paramilitary police need to point their revolvers at teenagers, handcuff them, and force them to the floor to keep our schools free of crime and violence. Support your local police dogs, and stop criticizing this necessary raid. Recent U.S. Justice Department statistics show that most of these African-American hoodlums are going to prison within a few years anyway. The sooner Principal McCrackin helps them learn this at gunpoint, the better prepared for it they will be.

Robert Merkin
Northampton, Massachusetts


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