The New Richmond Police Department on Wednesday, Dec. 12, found “a couple” violations during routine K-9 sweeps of the high school building and the parking lot.

“We did have the dogs in the school and the parking lot, and they did alert on a couple of things. I’ve been hearing a lot of things while I’ve been out and about regarding the drill. But there were a couple minor violations and what the school does with those is up to them. And that doesn’t happen the same day,” said police chief Craig Yehlik.

According to Yehlik, there were no illegal drugs located within the school building. There were however, a few safety violations from the parking lot which include items such as tobacco, vaping equipment, and drug paraphernalia associated with marijuana use. Officers were able to handle these violations through the local municipal court and no criminal arrests were made.

“There were not 40 arrests or 40 contacts, it was more like they talked to three or four kids. It is a good thing that we didn’t find the motherload and we didn’t have to talk to 40 kids. So either they are heeding the warning and, if they are using drugs, they aren’t bringing them on school property. The people who are, we are dealing with it,” Yehlik said. “

Olson said the NRPD K-9 Unit was utilized for a random walk through and compliance check for illegal narcotics that was completed by NRHS administration in collaboration with school resource officer Aaron Anderson and New Richmond Police Department.

“I have also heard many rumors about this situation today. It was not a drug bust. It was a controlled safety drill as part of the district's compliance with state statute,” District Administrator Patrick Olson said.

The School District of New Richmond, according to Yehlik, cannot provide exact numbers or details regarding the discoveries during the safety check because of student privacy laws, but would like to assure the community that there were no drugs detected or discovered in the high school building and very few instances overall.

According to Yehlik, the NRPD has been conducting random K-9 sweeps of the high school, the locker bays and the parking lot for years.

“We are trying to get voluntary compliance to not bring drugs to the high school. We are all realists and understand that there are kids at the high school that are going to use drugs. But our message has always been: do not bring them to school,” Yehlik said. “We’ve been doing this for eight or 10 years, where we will bring the K-9 in a few times throughout the course of the year. We told the students last year that, now that we have a K-9, it will probably be happening more regularly.”

Yehlik said there is a zero tolerance for illegal narcotics, vaping equipment and other drug paraphernalia on school property. He said the department is being proactive and asking people, including the students, for voluntary compliance to keep the schools safe for all students.

“We hear the same things you do, that there is a problem with drugs in the high school. But I think what people are referring to is that there are people in the high school who use drugs. They aren’t necessarily bringing them every day and using them every day on school property,” Yehlik said.

Yehlik also said it would be up to the school district to deal with the violations how they see fit. School officials will be responsible for deciding if the students who received violations are suspended, expelled or receive another form of discipline.

“Please take this opportunity to talk with your children about the dangers of tobacco, vaping and drug use and together we can work toward voluntary compliance and continue to keep our kids safe,” Yehlik said.