HISD officer now on administrative leave

August 23, 2009 6:42:40 PM PDT
Last fall, the Houston Independent School District arrested more than a dozen staffers after allegedly finding drugs in their cars. However, our In Focus research revealed more than half of the cases were thrown out. At first, HISD said nothing was wrong, but now they're going to the books to check an officer's work. In court to testify, HISD Police Officer Stephanie Clinton stood strongly behind her cases.

"Drugs are illegal. To have them on our campuses is disgusting. All we can do is protect the kids and that's what we're doing," said Officer Clinton.

Even after we showed HISD that the majority of Officer Clinton's cases were tossed from court, dismissed before trial, the HISD Police Chief told us, "I have full confidence in our dog handlers, detection dogs and our random drug search techniques."

Officer Clinton concurred, saying, "I am extremely comfortable with our cases."

The school district may not be so comfortable anymore.

Since our reports aired Monday, the HISD police chief placed Officer Clinton on administrative duty and ordered an internal review. He wants his investigators to look at every HISD staffer case Officer Clinton was involved in to see what went wrong and why so many were dismissed.

Our In Focus reports Monday showed Officer Clinton's dog somehow alerted to drugs it hadn't been trained to sniff out.

"I think at least there should be a public apology," said defense attorney Kent Schaffer.

We found cases where her police reports matched neither her sworn testimony nor eyewitness accounts.

"It's somewhat of a keystone cop operation," said defense lawyer Jerry Patchen.

The HISD chief said several times he isn't certain anything went wrong, but wants a hard a look at the cases to make sure any possible mistakes aren't repeated. There are no plans for similar searches of school parking lots when HISD begins school on Monday.

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