By Bob Skolnik
An unannounced random canine search at Riverside-Brookfield High School on the morning of March 8 turned up no drugs or guns at the school.
"We did not recover any narcotics or weapons," said Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel, who was present during the search.
Ten dogs, each one accompanied by a handler and a police officer, entered RBHS at about 9:30 a.m. They stayed for about 35 minutes. During that time the dogs sniffed lockers and entered a few classrooms after students were instructed to exit the room but leave their backpacks behind. RBHS staff members also accompanied each dog during the search. No locker was opened during the search.
"No student had any direct contact with any dog, and there were never any students in the classroom while the dogs were in the classrooms themselves," Weitzel said. "The students were very cooperative. They all exited the rooms and most of them like to see the dogs."
One dog, from the Brookfield Zoo Police Department, was trained to sniff out guns.
The other dogs were from the Berwyn Police Department, the Cook County Sheriff's Police, the Forest Park Police Department and the North Chicago Police Department.
This was the first canine drug and weapons search at RBHS this school year, but such searches have been occurring at the school regularly for many years.
The timing of the search had nothing to do with recent shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida, Weitzel said.
"It had been planned," Weitzel said of the search. "These are planned months in advance."