Webinar presenters Chris Loane, Mo Canady, Michael Lee, and Ronald Brooks answered a number of your questions after their presentation, Intercepting Narcotics in Schools Post-Pandemic — School Resource Officer Education and Training. Here are just a few of their responses.
Audience Question: I’m a school resource officer in Canada. I’m not familiar with the idea of the school-to-prison pipeline. Are there any resources, such as websites that you can recommend on this topic?
Mo Canady: Well, I don’t know that I would necessarily recommend resources. But I will tell you that Dr. Bernie James, who does a lot of work with us, is from Pepperdine University and has really taken a deep dive into issues around school to prison pipeline. It carries the idea that through arrests, expulsions, and out-of-school suspensions, that school administrators along school SROs are feeding a so-called school-to-prison pipeline. Again, we dispute that in terms of the work that school resource officers are doing. And, I guess, the resource that I’ll send you to is, is one of our own. The Journal of School Safety has several articles on that. But the report that you saw, the national report on our SROs it’s available on our website, To Protect and Educate, is a great resource in terms of data around that. Again, as far as the United States, I would also reference the actual juvenile arrest data from the Department of Justice, which is part of what we used for that report.
Audience Question: Do the Swabtek tests, detect substances on oral or urine samples?
Chris Loane: No, absolutely not, we don’t do anything to do with bodily fluids or internal use, etc.
Audience Question: Do you have to be mindful of the battery when breaking a vaping device apart?
Chris Loane: Generally, look, I’m not an expert on smashing to smash into pieces vape pens but generally, no. The basic two types are the ones that you simply pull apart, because that’s how they designed, either to replace the pod, or it’s a pod that you can refill yourself. In that case, the little heating part and the mouthpiece are completely separate from the battery. The battery really is an indestructible part of the device itself probably because of requirements to not like batteries leak out and go on fire and all of the issues with batteries. But then you come to the disposable ones. With this type of disposable vaping device, you will probably have to damage the structure a little bit in 50% of the cases. The ends can come off, but you will need a penknife. Once you pull the end off, you can put it back together, but you have effectively broken it. Again, no, you’re not going anywhere near the battery. The battery is hard encased, right inside here. We’re only talking about removing ends to get the oils out, so no battery problem day, but the worst-case scenario of these disposables is the fully sealed, plastic injection mold like there’s no entry point whatsoever. The way you get the oils out of those generally is, you literally just stick one of the devices inside a clear bag like that. And then you’re just going to have to flick it really, really, really hard, generally mouthpiece down. You can try things flicking both ends and eventually, you will get some oil out enough to actually test it. So, you’re not actually breaking the device and you’re certainly not going anywhere near the battery. So, in all cases, unless you literally hit it with a hammer to break it, you’re not going to be going near the battery.
Audience Question: You said something about school admin doing these tests. How does that stand up in court?
Mo Canady: Well, that again, becomes a state-to-state issue. But it’s so important, again, that we go back to if there was an SRO engaged in this when they’re brought into that situation. If you go to the TLO v. New Jersey case, you clearly see that school administrators in general across this nation, have a little bit more freedom to conduct a search. In other words, in that case, in TLO, it was the school administrator that conducted the search. Once that search is conducted and the school administrator fonds, what they believe to be substance, whether they tested or whether they are SRO tested. Once they believe they have an illegal substance, they can certainly then call the SRO, or any other law enforcement and turn that over to law enforcement, whether they’ve conducted the test or whether law enforcement, the SRO, now conducts the test.
Michael Lee: All these kinds of tests, whether our tester or the old kind of test, they’re all presumptive tests. They’re all presumptive field tests. So, some states require one for regular law enforcement. They require a presumptive test to file charges. But none of these tests are used in court. So, if the substance actually going to go to court, then usually the forensic lab that supports the local police is the one who has done the scientific analysis on the drugs for court.
Ron Brooks: Most prosecutors in the US are very happy to file criminal cases on a presumptive test, but because most cases never really make it to trial, they make it into motions or even a plea at arraignment, the presumptive test is all you need, that saves time and effort money budget, forensic lab. But if it does go to court then the forensic lab, will do their job and they will, they’ll do confirmatory tests. But in my experience, we actually went to court on baby one out of one hundred felony drug arrests.
Audience Question: What is the cost of the test kit?
Michael Lee: The test kits most of them average $2.50 to $3 a test. Nicotine plus is a little higher. Fentanyl is higher than that. But like I said, because of what we found out about the need after the pandemic then we’ve put aside a section of inventory for the folks that attended this. And so now, you’re looking at 62 cents a test on average.
Audience Question: Can you talk about getting an MOU with school administration to actually conduct these presumptive tests on students when their parents are not around to advocate for a child’s privacy? Can you provide any guidance on this issue?
Mo Canady: We haven’t seen that as an MOU issue. In other words, that is placed into the MOU. I would think that if school administration if that’s something that they were going to do on their own, that would be more in the educational policies and procedures within that particular school district as opposed to an MOU agreement between law enforcement and the school itself.
Michael Lee: I’ll just add on to that in my discussions with school administrators around the country. When they find a piece of contraband, they can test the contraband as a school administrator because it helps them then have a decision tree of what to do next. And, honestly, everyone, I might talk to, when they test these vape pens, they’re hoping that our test comes up negative. They rarely turn up negative, there are all kinds of cannabis being used in vape pens. But they’re hoping they’re negative. And then, you know, they follow their policy for a negative, which usually confiscates the parents, sends the kids back to class, or gives them detention for a day or two whatever. Because when they hit the cannabis and they know it’s got cannabis in, it, you know, they have to go down a different path, which usually sends the child for a drug test and involve their parents at that point, and what have you
Audience Question: Is there a minimum number of tests that are necessary to qualify for the discount?
Michael Lee: The discount is on our 100 Count Boxes. So, you get 100 tests for $62.50
Audience Question: Did you say that NASRO is conducting some of your courses online, so does that mean, an SRO can attend the Advanced Class via Zoom?
Mo Canady: Well, I didn’t say that, but this year, what we did was transition. I suppose I did say we transitioned our basic course, to a live, virtual component, that that can be done in that manner. It’s on our preference, but we’ve had to do that, of course, during this past year. And our AMHT, our Adolescent Mental Health Training, the advanced course is not in the live virtual format, and we’re not intending for it to be at this point. We really hope to return to teaching that in person sooner rather than later.
Audience Question: Do you offer tax-exempt purchasing?
Michael Lee: Yes. We do. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll make sure you get taken care of.
Audience Question: What is the shelf life of the swab tech tests?
Michael Lee: Yeah, it’s multiple years. We warranty everything we sell for a year. The inventory that we’ve set aside for this discount has got 12 months left on it. Honestly, the tests will last for 3 or 4 years, as long as you don’t expose them to high heat. And, when I mean high heat, I mean, lock them in the trunk of your car in Orlando all summer, that might drop them down to a year. But working in and out of different schools or being in the school or what have you, the test should last a few years.