Other NJ News

Hillsborough Police Chief: Negative Results from High School Drug Sweep Has Positive Impact

ba257ed4caa026666295_hillspixpolicechiefdarrenpowell.JPG
Hillsborough Police Chief Darren Powell Credits: Rod Hirsch
ba257ed4caa026666295_hillspixpolicechiefdarrenpowell.JPG

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – Last week’s sweep of Hillsborough High School with drug-sniffing dogs was less about making arrests and more about putting students on notice and to discourage them from drug use, according to Police Chief Darren Powell.

Eight law enforcement agencies with drug-sniffing dogs targeted lockers, random classrooms, locker rooms and students’ cars in the parking lot, but no drugs were detected by the dogs during the 90-minute search.

No students came in direct contact with the dogs; students were moved from classrooms prior to the searches. Students were told to leave their book bags, pocketbooks and other personal items in the classrooms that were searched.

Sign Up for E-News

“I can’t say I’m surprised,” Powell said. “It’s a crap shoot when you do something like this.”

The sweep was prompted by several reasons, according to Powell.

The decision to conduct the search was reached jointly with the township Board of Education and school officials, with final approval given by Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Powell said.

Without being specific, Powell said there have been a “few” incidents at the school involving drugs over the past few years; also, word trickles back to police from parents who hear from their children, he added.

Chatter on social media also led to the decision to conduct the search, according to Powell. The school has loosely been referred to as “Pillsborough High” and “Heroin High” on students’ walls and in chat rooms.

“If there is something going on we want to take an affirmative step to discourage it,” Powell said, “not to arrest and punish.”   

Students were not notified of the sweep until they arrived at school Friday morning.

School principal Karen Bingert posted a letter to parents on the school’s website as the search was being conducted.

"Illegal drugs have no place in a school setting, where students’ health and safety are the first priority, followed closely by establishing an environment that is conducive to learning," Bingert wrote. "In an effort to reinforce the importance of this drug-free climate, Hillsborough High School is currently participating in a drug sweep."

The letter was also signed by Dr. Jorden Schiff, schools superintendent and Powell.

"More importantly, this is being done to very clearly indicate that such a search may happen at any time as a definitive message that drugs have no place at HHS and as a deterrent for bringing drugs on campus in the future. The school has participated in similar sweeps in the past and hopes that this process has the same beneficial outcomes as we have seen previously," Bingert added.

Classrooms were placed in a modified lockdown during the sweep; no one was allowed in the hallways. Classes resumed afterwards.

Hillsborough High School has four grade levels, freshmen-senior; enrollment is approximately 2,200 students.

"More importantly, this is being done to very clearly indicate that such a search may happen at any time as a definitive message that drugs have no place at HHS and as a deterrent for bringing drugs on campus in the future. The school has participated in similar sweeps in the past and hopes that this process has the same beneficial outcomes as we have seen previously," Bingert added.

Participating in the drug sweep were personnel and K9 units from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office; Somerset County Sheriff’s Office; New Jersey State Police; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bound Brook Police Department; Passaic County Sheriff’s Office; Morris County Sheriff’s Office and the Hazlet Police Department.

"Schools are microcosms of all society, and, as such, drugs can find their way into any school, just as they can into any family or workplace," Bingert said. "Within our curriculum, policies, and code of conduct are measures that are taken to prevent drug usage and when drugs have been discovered. There are also multiple support systems that exist within our school to help students lead drug-free lives," she continued. “This drug sweep is one more step that can be taken to keep drugs out of Hillsborough High School to the greatest extent possible."

Powell said he has been receiving phone calls from other school districts and police agencies interested in conducting similar searches.

“You may see other schools in other counties doing it,” Powell said.

He received only one call from a parent questioning the legality of the search; Powell said the search was conducted in accordance with State Police guidelines.

Powell also said that if the need arises, there may be more unannounced searches.

“As long as the school is on board, it’s an available tool to use,” Powell said. “We may consider doing it again.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

South Brunswick-Cranbury

Police Blotter

South Brunswick and Cranbury Police Blotter

August 9, 2017

Sponsored by Reilly's Collision Center in Monmouth Junction. Click here and scroll down for the latest updates and alerts from South Brunswick and Cranbury Police.

See the most recent messages from South Brunswick Twp Police Department, powered by Nixle.

Upcoming Events

Sun, February 18, 3:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick, New Brunswick

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra: Hot Latin Nights ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, February 25, 11:00 AM

East Brunswick Jewish Center, East Brunswick

PurimFest

Arts & Entertainment Other Religions And Spirituality

Sun, February 25, 1:00 PM

St. David's Episcopal Church, Cranbury

Organizing for the 2018 Mid-terms: Elections, ...

Education Giving Back Government

Nutley Police Department: Video Does Not Contain Direct Threat to Nutley Public Schools

February 16, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - The Nutley Police Department report that the video that led to Nutley Public Schools being closed did not post a direct threat to any of the township's schools.

Police report that the person responsible for the video has been cooperating with the Nutley Police Department in their investigation. Interviews are on-going, The department is also investigating all ...

East Brunswick Business Owner Sues to Stop New Hotel Going Up in New Brunswick

February 16, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ -The owners of an East Brunswick hotel are suing to halt the construction of another such establishment a few miles away in New Brunswick.

Shan & Dylan LLC, who own a Comfort Suites just off Route 18, filed suit in an effort to press the New Brunswick Planning Board to rescind its approval of the four-story hotel, which ​was issued in November.

That proposal calls for ...

South Brunswick: Volunteer Soccer Coach Charged With Possessing And Distributing Child Pornography

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – A volunteer youth soccer coach and former Sunday school teacher is charged with possessing and distributing child pornography, officials said Thursday.

FBI agents and local law enforcement arrested Waldo Milla-Guerra, 49, at his Kendall Park home Thursday morning after executing a search warrant, officials said.

Milla-Guerra, a volunteer soccer coach with the ...

Rutgers to Host Exhibit of Sen. Frank Lautenberg Papers

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey’s longest-serving U.S. senator, left an outsize imprint on state politics and national policy by the time he died while in office, in 2013.

His papers, now curated and maintained by the Rutgers University Libraries, encompass 2,250 boxes of hats, buttons, campaign stickers, vinyl records, paper documents and other artifacts that, laid end ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (Bantom,2017)

How does a writer of a beloved series like Harry Potter or Temperance Brennan break out of their readers' expectations and try something new? For J.K. Rowlings it was the novels penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith; books about a maimed and very flawed private detective with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. For Kathy Reichs, it is the ...

Cuba Goes Country

February 17, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RELEASE: “Cuba Goes County” to be held at The Palmer in Cuba, NY.

For more information or to schedule and interview, contact Theater Manager Michele Conklin at (585) 209-5512.

The Palmer Opera House is hosting “Cuba Goes Country” on Sunday March 11th- at 2:00 PM

Come join us for a boot stompin', toe tappin' afternoon of country ...

Rep. Watson Coleman Statement Following Whistleblower Report on Baseless Attacks on Planned Parenthood

WASHINGTON, DC - Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) released the below statement following the letter sent by Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) to the Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Sectary, Eric Hargan. The letter outlines documents regarding an effort by the Trump Administration to allow states to terminate Planned Parenthood as a healthcare ...

New Brunswick/Middlesex County Reentry Site Opens

MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ - The New Jersey Reentry Corporation (NJRC), a nonprofit agency serving court-involved individuals, is pleased to announce the grand opening a new reentry site in Middlesex County on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 at 11 a.m. The office is located at 57 Livingston Avenue, Unit 3, New Brunswick, N.J. 08901. Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin will offer remarks and cut ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

Guest Column

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The ...