Drugs or drill? Reason not clear about police presence at Rome High Wednesday

According to Debbie Burnett, Rome assistant chief of police, an unscheduled drug sweep of Rome High School involving several units of law enforcement from different counties was conducted Wednesday morning. She referred all other questions to the school. According to Tashia Twyman, Rome City Schools director of communications and public engagement, the units were conducting a drill. / John Popham

An unannounced drug sweep at Rome High School on Wednesday netted no arrests and only one small pill bottle containing marijuana, according to a Rome Police Department report.

According to Assistant Police Chief Debbie Burnett and the report:

The sweep, like many conducted at the behest of the school, was unannounced and other agencies were called in to assist, Burnett said.

“It was an unannounced sweep,” she said. “The same type that we do regularly.”

The principal of the school, Eric Holland, calls the police to request the sweep and Rome police as well as the other agencies take drug dogs through the school and parking lot. Only one small white pill bottle containing suspected marijuana was found in the sweep. Officer Josh Glover stated the K9 teams were split into two groups so they could conduct a search of the parking lots and school at the same time.

Glover stated an officer with the Cedartown Police Department found the bottle and no charges would be filed because they could not determine the owner of the pill bottle. It was found on the ground between two vehicles.

No arrests were made, Burnett said. The bottle was taken to be destroyed.

Rome City Schools Superintendent Lou Byars said they chose to conduct a sweep because there hadn’t been one in a while.

“We hadn’t done one at Rome City Schools in quite a while, so we just decided to do it,” Byars said. The only people who were aware the sweep would happen were Holland and the police. That way, Byars said, they get a realistic understanding of what drugs are at the school at any given time.

“Drugs are still a problem in our society,” Byars said. “We’re glad to see nothing was found in the school.”

He acknowledged the school system should have gotten more information out to parents after the fact and attempted to dispel rumors circulating on social media.

“We learn and we’ll try to continue to improve in getting that information out,” Byars said.