As part of a wider effort to address drug use among New Canaan youth, police say they’re trying to find a way to bring the department’s new K-9 unit into the high school for unannounced sweeps of the building.
Asked at Tuesday’s Police Commission meeting whether K-9 dog Apollo found any substances during an exercise where he swept through NCHS hallways just prior to the start of the academic year, Police Chief Leon Krolikowski answered: “Suffice to say there are drugs in the school as we speak, no question—and there always have been and always will be.”
“It is just our job to disrupt that and make people think twice if they are going to bring drugs on campus,” the chief said at the meeting, held in the Training Room at the New Canaan Police Department. “That is our intent. We are working with the superintendent where there is some kind of policy where we are able to go, unannounced, and check for narcotics.”
Asked at the time of the K-9 sweep whether unannounced visits by Apollo could become part of NCHS policy, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said the school board was reviewing its policies and was committed to making its schools drug-free.
Police Commissioner Paul Foley said at the meeting that Krolikowski had the “total support” of the commission to make unannounced K-9 sweeps at the high schools.
“If you were told that you cannot do a sweep of the school, we would like to know that,” Foley said. “Because I think we should be able to do that.”
Krolikowski said that the department was “moving in the right direction” with respect to the schools and added that private schools also are interested in getting involved.
The discussion arises as, at the request of First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and others, a wider community effort to prevent drugs in schools takes shape.
Police Commission Chairman Stuart Sawabini noted that narcotics incidents at NCPD saw a slight year-over-year rise, and asked whether anything specific could account for the increase.
Krolikowski said the department is seeing “a ton of marijuana” which is “more or less decriminalized” and that New Canaan “is seeing heroin here, no doubt,” as well as crack, cocaine and other narcotics. The chief said he may ask for a specific line item in the upcoming budget year to dedicate staff to investigating the sale of drugs in town.
A problem that local experts from Silver Hill Hospital says typically starts at home with kids taking their parents’ opioid-based painkillers from a medicine cabinet, heroin abuse made headlines in town recently when a Town Councilman noted that the town in recent years has lost six young people to overdoses.
Krolikowski said that one point of focus now is New Canaan High School.
“We can’t stop people from doing certain things in their own homes but certainly we can make it difficult for them to bring drugs into school, and make it uncomfortable for them, and arrest people, especially if they are selling,” he said.