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Random drug searches on public school campuses possible

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In an effort to combat drugs in schools, the Guam Police Department and Department of Education may soon be teaming up to conduct random canine drug searches on campus.

It's no secret that school officials have been combating drug abuse at island schools with DOE deputy superintendent Chris Anderson saying, "We know that students are bringing drugs on campus, consuming drugs on campus. We see that in our data."

Police Chief JI Cruz said the issue is also on GPD's radar, saying, "We're getting information being privy to the Guam Police Department, as the officers from the Mandana Drug Task Force, as even officers out on patrol are gathering information of the possibility and potential of drugs in our school system so we want to take a look at that."

And whether through students or faculty, the possibility of drugs entering the school system has led officials to call for random drug sweeps. "The sweeps would be conducted at schools throughout the island in an effort to deter both students and faculty from bringing drugs to school," he said.

A draft memorandum of agreement between GPD and DOE is currently under legal review by GPD. Anderson added, "Obviously we want to prioritize the schools where drug usage may be an issue, but I would just say that any one of our 41 schools would be open territory for these K-9 units to support."

He added student safety will remain a priority. Chief Cruz said the department is taking appropriate precautions through its legal review of the draft MOU. Chief Cruz said, "I think it would be very premature for us to simply go in there because we've got intelligence or information, we have to take the steps to make sure that we look at it from a legal standpoint." He also stated, "Should we find drugs in our school systems, the potential to end up in a court of law is there, so we must be judicious about it, we must make sure that we cross every T, we dot every I before we go in there and conduct those types of operations."

Both Cruz and Anderson expressed a commitment to work together to address the issue, with Cruz adding the MOU review, which began in January, is nearing completion.

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