Update: Police dog finds marijuana in car at Wilton High

UPDATE: Oct. 9, 7:53 p.m.— Wilton police have updated the results of the police dog search at Wilton High School, reporting marijuana was found in a car in a school parking lot Friday morning. This was not reported earlier this morning.

An email from Capt. John Lynch sent Friday evening said the drug-sniffing dogs made several hits on "certain vehicles parked in the student parking lot." No drugs were found in the vehicles searched however one vehicle remained unchecked.

"Once the operator was located the vehicle was searched and a very small amount of suspected marijuana was located inside the vehicle," he wrote.

"The student is a juvenile and the case remains under investigation."

Oct. 9, 11:31 a.m. — As anticipated, the drug-sniffing, police dog search of Wilton High School on Friday morning, Oct. 9, turned up empty — literally. Two dogs hit on one locker in one of the hallways — a second dog confirming the response of a first dog — but when it was opened the locker was completely empty. Police attribute the dogs’ hit to possible residue that could have been as much as weeks old. Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith said he did not know, since the locker was empty, if it was even assigned to a student.

The highly publicized search was the first to be conducted at the high school. It involved Wilton’s police dog, Enzo, and dogs from nearby police departments: Newtown, Norwalk, Stratford, Darien and Monroe. Using several dogs makes for a much quicker search and a task that is less taxing on the individual dogs, Officer Steven Rangel, Enzo’s handler, said.

School administrators were pleased with the effort, which took about half an hour. Students were back in the hallways at about 10:07.

“We met our objective. We are keeping our kids safe,” said Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith.

Board of Education Chairman Bruce Likly said the exercise was all about “starting a dialogue with the community. We are doing everything we can to keep their kids safe.”

“Our goal is not to punish anyone,” Smith said, “but to help them.”

Coordinating the search were Wilton Chief Robert Crosby and Capt. John Lynch. Among those observing in addition to Smith and Likly were Board of Education Vice Chair Christine Finkelstein and Chris Weldon, chair of the Wilton Police Commission. Numerous students, too, had their faces pressed to windows as the police K-9 cars rolled up to the front entrance, many waving to the dogs.

Of the students, Likely said, “They were in a healthy place. … One kids put a sign on their car, ‘no drugs here.’”

“This is a new process,” Weldon said. Responding to community questions of why so much advance notice was given he said, “we are trying to be more open to the kids. We’re not trying to trick the kids.”

Smith said there will be a debriefing with the school administration and police department. Principal Robert O’Donnell will send a letter to families and will talk with students about the search and its results.

Smith said there could be as many as two or three searches per year. Future searches will not be announced, and Middlebrook could be included.