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Department of Corrections participates in drug sweep of two public schools

The prison system law enforcement division’s participation in the school sweeps comes as overdoses and deaths inside prisons skyrocket.

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The Alabama Department of Corrections Law Enforcement Services Division on Wednesday assisted state and local law enforcement in conducting drug sweeps of two Monroe County public schools at the behest of the county superintendent, according to a statement from the agency.

The Equal Justice Initiative criticized the raid on the two Monroe County Schools and the ADOC’s participation in the joint operation.

“As ADOC utilizes its resources to raid K-12 schools, drugs and weapons continue to flow through Alabama’s prisons unregulated—and often aided—by correctional staff,” the EJI said in a blog post. “In the past three weeks alone, six ADOC officers, including a captain and a lieutenant, were arrested and charged with accepting bribes and other crimes associated with facilitating the introduction of illegal contraband into the state’s prisons.”

No narcotics were found in the sweep, with officials from the Excel Police Department, Thomaston Police Department, Escambia Sheriff’s Office, Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, and the Alabama State Troopers also participating in the sweep of both Excel and J.F. Shields High Schools, according to a statement from the ADOC released on Thursday.

Monroe County Board of Education Superintendent Greg Shehan had asked the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office to conduct the sweep of the school, with Monroe County Sherriff inviting the additional agencies. The ADOC Law Enforcement Services Division sent their K-9 bureau to participate.

“Ultimately, no illegal narcotics were found, but dogs alerted both inside and outside in several areas,” the department wrote in the statement on Thursday. “There are often trace evidence of drugs left by a handprint or someone who was previously in the area and had used drugs. While several vehicles were searched once the canines alerted, both schools were cleared for any illegal activity and no arrests were made.”

The overall reason behind the raid remains unclear, with the statement from the ADOC indicating that joint operations by law enforcement of this kind “are common when multiple K-9 Units are required.”

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According to statistics from U.S. News, the overwhelming majority of the school’s students are Black at 98.3 percent, with Excel High School having a majority white student body at 72.7 percent.

John is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can contact him at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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