Walczyk, Ritchie: “The Proven Solution is Drug Dogs in State Prisons” Drug Sniffing Canines Identified Contraband

State Assemblyman Mark Walczyk and State Senator Patty Ritchie are again calling on Legislative Leaders to pass Senate Bill S.7640 and Assembly Bill A.8703 after the latest drug bust at another Northern New York prison.

Just last week, on February 29, a visitor attempted to smuggle Percocet pills and suboxone strips to an inmate at the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility. Then on the following day, March 1st, another visitor attempted to smuggle 50 strips of suboxone to an inmate at Bare Hill Correctional Facility. And we've recently learned K2 (synthetic marijuana) was found hidden in an inmates' bunk by a drug dog at Bare Hill.

The two individuals were taken into custody after drug sniffing canines had alerted officers to the controlled substances that were hidden on them.

“We continue to see problems with drugs being smuggled into the hands of inmates through the mail room and by visitor hand-off. There's a proven solution that needs to be extended to all facilities immediately,” said Assemblyman Mark Walczyk. “You want to stop K2? You need a K9. Unless the state is arming Corrections Officers with the tools they need to snuff out drugs in prisons, this battle will continue to wage on at the expense of the taxpayer and safety of Corrections Officers & inmates."

“The recent instances of drug smuggling in Upstate prisons not only have demonstrated that the influx of contraband in facilities continues to be a problem, but also that K9s are incredibly effective when it comes to alerting officials to incidents where individuals are trying to bring drugs into state prisons,” said Senator Patty Ritchie. “Drug dogs work—and I’m committed to advocating for passage of legislation I sponsor that would place one in every facility across the state with a minimum of 100 inmates. Doing so will make our facilities more secure, as well as better keep our correctional officers safe from harm.”

“K9’s have been extremely successful in detecting visitors who attempt to smuggle drugs to inmates inside our correctional facilities. The level of contraband consistently making its way into the hands of inmates is at epidemic levels. The current system in place obviously is not successful despite the best efforts of our members. The only way to reduce contraband is to reinstate the Secure Vendor Program and assign a K9 to every facility. I applaud Assemblyman Walcyzk and Senator Ritchie for calling on the Governor to act on these two much need measures. ” – stated Michael P. Powers, NYSCOPBA President.