interesting article on police k9s used in drug searches - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 60 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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interesting article on police k9s used in drug searches

Legal challenge questions reliability of police dogs | Las Vegas Review-Journal

k9s used in the military to sniff out bombs and enemy threats are actually assets but imo k9's used in civilian settings is nothing more than a loophole to search you. this article applies to s&r dogs too. they can indicate a body when there is none just based on subtle cues by the handler or the handler thinking they are smarter than the dog and know where the body is and subconciously leading the dog in that direction.
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post #2 of 60 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 01:00 PM
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The Police K9 is a very valuable Law Enforcement Tool. In my 28 years with the R.C.M.P. (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) I regularly worked with our Dog Handlers and we caught a lot of bad guys with the Dog. Our Dogs were trained for tracking and Drug/Explosive Detection. When a Dog would indicate the presence of Narcotics either there were drugs present or residue of drugs being on premises or in vehicle in recent history. The last time I checked getting Illegal Drugs off the Street was a Good Thing!
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post #3 of 60 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 01:09 PM
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I was kind of bummed the other thread was locked, because this is an interesting and problematic issue. I found it funny when you said you were excited to have the K9 come out to sniff the vehicle, because I would have thought the same thing. But I always wondered how bringing out the K9 without a warrant is constitutional. I can sort of understand it at the border or airport, but at a random traffic stop? It doesn't seem right. Especially when you can make your dog false alert. I heard a story on NPR some time ago about an ex-cop who admitted that he did this.
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post #4 of 60 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 01:15 PM
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Any tool can be misused. I applaud the use of K9s for LEO's. They save lives and make the officers much more safe.

Just because something is misused, doesn't mean it's a bad thing. If that cop was breaking the law, he would find a way to do it with or without the K9.

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post #5 of 60 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 02:21 PM
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The law treats indications by cadaver dogs differently than drug and bomb dogs and cadaver dogs cannot be used to secure a warrant less search. Cadaver dogs cannot even search an area for a body or evidence without permission of the property owner or a warrant. Permission to search an area is presumed for live find dogs since it is an emergency and a life may be at stake...though a live find dog indication on a house cannot secure access to the inside of that house without permission/warrant.

That said, the article was controversial when it came out but I am not the one with the expertise to provide the rebuttal arguments. That is because, as a cadaver dog handler, I rely on the police to deploy us and they are responsible for the issues of permission/deployment.

I can say that that false indication issues are focused on in training with the intent of NOT generating false positives and good handlers track them in their records (I know Beau runs about 2% false alert rate, and 94% correct alert rate - no dog is 100%, just as human eyes are not 100%). Typically, you will fail a certification test if you have an incorrect response. I know with NAPWDA cadaver certification, out of 12 hides you can make one mistake. Period. That is either one miss or one false alert and if you miss, you fail the whole thing.

That said there are training approaches, such as "double blind" testing where neither the handler nor the evaluator know where the hides are until after the exercise is ensure cues by the evaluator do not impact either the handler or the dog.

As far as the legality, it has been upheld by the supreme court on repeated occasions and has been deemed constitutional. Searching the outside of someone's car in a public space is legal. Searching the outside of a home on private property is not. If you have an issue, I think rather than managing it on the forum, you need to take it to your elected representatives.


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Last edited by NancyJ; 12-22-2013 at 02:27 PM.
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post #6 of 60 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 02:38 PM
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The final trained response of a certified narcotic detector dog is PC for warrantless search of a motor vehicle on the highway because years ago the courts deemed that we can only hold an individual for a 'REASONABLE" length of time . Reasonablness was not really articulated other than generally, the time it takes me to have dispatch run clearances. Therefore, waiting for a k9 unit to arrive takes longer than what was considered reasonble. ALL contacts must be documented by law so our traffic stops now are on video. A cadaver dog's final trained response is considered reasonable suspicion ONLY not probable cause.
As with all things, NOTHING is 100% and as a whole,as much as we are scrutinized, it is very difficult to be incompetent for any length of time
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post #7 of 60 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 02:52 PM
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I moved this to Current Affairs, as the use of poorly trained dogs and bad handlers in legal cases is a real issue. The discussion should stay on subject and not turn into a personal anti-LEO rant, otherwise this thread will also be closed for Cop Bashing.



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post #8 of 60 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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even though the sample size was small and imo the test was setting the dogs up to fail, its still shocking at how miserably those k9 teams failed. i read another study where the k9 handler was falsely told that there was drugs in the room when the room was actually clean. in this case, the dog falsely indicated just because the handler themselves thought there were drugs there.

there is no doubt that these dogs are an invaluable part of the police department. if you want to look at it with the glass half full view then these dogs basically have a 0% failure rate since they always find the drugs. but with a false positive being so easy it makes them unreliable and they shouldnt be a walking search warrant. i wonder how a military dog would have done in this test?
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post #9 of 60 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 03:27 PM
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Here is the general opinion of one of those "studies" Old news.
Those dogs were not even certified.
Military dogs are not special. They are evaluated and trained the same way we do. And, If detection dogs in general were so lousy, their final trained responses(proper term. not alert) would not be holding up in court. Folks only see the publicized cases.
Actually this should be moved to police k9 section. This study is outdated so not current
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post #10 of 60 (permalink) Old 12-22-2013, 03:40 PM
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I hope this doesn't turn into a "cop-bashing" thread. I have all the respect for our LE officers who put their lives on the line every day. Just like everything else, there is good and bad in LE, and I'm sure that those who are in that line of work have seen it firsthand. There are some policies that I might disagree with, and some individual bad apples, but I honestly think that the majority of LE officers don't go into it for the power trip. I could be wrong--if there are studies on this, I'd like to read them. But I have to give a nod to anyone who has the courage and discipline to face danger and put their lives on the line every day. I simply can't imagine what that's like.

And of course, I have to respect and admire the K9 officers. Even when you don't agree with the way they are used, you gotta love the dogs.

Last edited by Freestep; 12-22-2013 at 03:42 PM.
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