HANOVERTON - K-9 Jesy, the newest member of the Columbiana County Sheriff's Office's fight against drugs, wasted little time getting started on her mission Wednesday afternoon.
Jesy and her handler, Lt. Allan Young, went to United Local High School to conduct a routine drug sniff, along with K-9 Toney, her handler East Palestine Sgt. Donald Johnson, Sheriff Ray Stone and members of the Columbiana County Drug Task Force.
Principal William Young said having drug dogs check the school is something officials there like to do on a routine basis. Although the check often comes up empty, the knowledge it could be found can prevent students from bringing drugs to school.
"Our goal is to be a deterrent," Young said. "We don't want any drugs in the building."
With one dog sniffing lockers upstairs and another on the first floor, there were no drugs found on Wednesday at the school. However, the dogs were interested in a couple lockers, where there was the possibility the odor from past drug use may have been on coats or other objects inside.
While the drug search was conducted students were placed on lockdown in their classrooms. Young said it gives the staff and students a chance to conduct a drill for some of the different types of emergencies. The first conducted was a level one lockdown, where students and staff remain in their rooms. Young said that level is more if there is a potential threat somewhere outside the school.
Then students and staff were placed on a level two lockdown, which would be a more serious incident with a possible intruder inside the building. Everyone is asked to move away from windows and doors are locked to prevent someone from entering a classroom or seeing students from outside the school.
Young said there is a third level, which would be evacuating the building.
Although there were no drugs found or emergencies on Wednesday, Young said the idea is to be prepared for what can happen.
"Drugs can be everywhere," Young added.
Young said it is nice to have the dogs nearby now when the school wants to have a periodic sweep. In the past, the school would contact Trumbull County or Beaver Township to see if and when a drug dog would be available. There are now six drug dogs in Columbiana County, including the addition of Jesy just a few miles away.
"It used to be difficult to have them come in," Young said. "Now it's nice to have a local resource."