Officers Wilson and Belken from Atascadero State Hospital’s police department deployed their dogs Kilo and Booker to search for drugs on the AHS campus on Feb. 20.
Photo by Codi Carroll
Students noticed an unusual site on campus on Feb. 20--two drug yellow labradors retrievers, Booker and Kilo, from the Atascadero State Hospital’s police department and their handlers, Officers Wilson and Belken could be seen all over school and in the locker rooms and parking lots searching for drugs.
Two days prior, the district office sent out a message informing parents and students about the search. As soon as the email was sent, many students took to social media in attempts to warn other students. Vice Principal Mr. Allen stated that the search was not intended to catch students, but to send a message that AHS is a drug-free campus and to make students think twice about bringing illegal substances to school. There were a substantial number of absences that day, and several students parked their cars off campus to avoid the search.
The email also stated that further visits from the officers and dogs will be unannounced and at random times throughout the school year. Mr. Allen suggested that the dogs will return for another search at least one more time this school year.
While the purpose of the dogs’ visit was anything but joyful, many students seemed to enjoy their presence, and they were not met with any hostility. The labs were quite playful, and the officers even allowed several students to pet them.
The administration hopes that students not knowing when another search may happen will dissuade them from bringing drugs to school and deter students from getting involved with illegal substances that could cause a lot of trouble if they get caught and lead to harmful lifestyle choices.