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Civilian Drug dogs

7586 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Smithie86
Most of the people we train with are PO's or sheriff's. One of them has been doing drug searches for some schools in the area and wants a couple of us to start training for it. Does anyone have any links about this sort of thing? How does this happen for a civilian who doesn't have any training for this? We are in New York by the way, since it may vary from State to State.
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Well I'm afraid I can't answer your question exactly but this might help. As a civilian you will probably have a hard time based upon our experience.

Several years ago we had our B'EL evaluated as a possible SAR dog - as it turned out she exhibited outstanding abilities in search and rescue. We trained for a long time. When I thought we were ready to contribute I offered our services to two local police agencies that had just retired their K9 officers. I received a very polite thanks but no thanks. In regard to volunteer K9s the towns simply could not risk the possibility of a lawsuit by some else if B'EL might bite someone during a search or by me if someone might injure her. They told me that they really couldn't use us unless there was some sort of catastrophic event. From that point we pretty much demonstrated K9 Search & Rescue at local fairs and community gatherings. Then we had thought about advancing her to do drug searches but the same rules applied.

That is why we now train therapy dogs. If you are in to community service and volunteering, therapy is a much easier path!!

Good Luck – I will be curious to learn how you make out.
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Thanks EJQ, would it be any different if the dog was certified through whatever agency does this sort of thing?
Well, we were attached to bonifide SAR group but in our immediate area it made no difference. I am since not up on any of this - things might have changed.
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Ok, thanks for the info. Does anyone have any links to how a dog get's certified?
Some states have Reserve Officer programs where you under go police training but are not a paid officer and then you serve under the direction of law enforcement.

The police certifications require you to be an officer to get certified, with some exceptions made by all but USPCA for search and rescue related certifications. [but you still need to be sponsored by a law enforcement agency and have a crimina background check]

Some companies do their own drug sweeps and trainings and are not affiliated with the police organizations; these are paid companies ---- anyone who does this kind of training needs a DEA license but i understand that is not a real hard thing to do.
Just make sure that if you start going down this path, the agency makes you a reserve/volunteer deputy/police officer, or that if you go with a private company, that they have insurance that will cover you. Otherwise, if someone chooses to sue you for a drug search, you're on your own.

I've heard of civilians in rural areas becoming reserves and working their dogs as drug dogs. If the agency has someone good for the training, it would only take several weeks to get it done (training full-time). But make sure you are part of that agency during the training and any searches, to protect yourself and your dog.
The thing that comes with detection work is the likelihood of winding up in court. Training records have to be stellar. Need to meet typical trainiing guidelines, etc.

I think since school lockers are public property there may be different [fewer] restrictions on that than say personal cars etc. but the main reason detector dogs go to court [I think] is a defense lawyer trying to get the dog's alert thrown otu of court because it was the basis for the warrantless search and if you throw out the basis you can't use the evidence obtained.

Some other sites.
Thanks for your help Nancy. What we would be doing is mostly lockers. I have been trying to find some contact information about the local K9 dept. but so far haven't had much luck.
There are civilians that contract out detection services. They contract with schools, businesses, industry etc to detect drugs on their property.

I think it would be rare, that law enforcement would "hire" detection services, particularly in the area of drugs and explosives from civilians. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but I've not seen it in my 40 years.

Having said that, there is a significant difference in the use of a law enforcement dog in a school and a civilian. I'm not an attorney, so this isn't legal advice. Generally, schools have what is commonly referred to as "proprietary rights". Meaning, students have a lesser expectation of privacy in their lockers, vehicles on school property etc, therefore, many of the rules under the 4th Amendment, Search and seizure, do not apply. It's much to much typing for me to try to explain. Suffice it to say; if law enforcement conducts a canine sniff and they find something, they are bound by law to prefer criminal charges. If a civilian contractor dogs were to find something, the school can take administrative action and does not have to prefer criminal charges.

In order to have a detector dog, it would have to be trained (duh, I know that's obvious) and "certified" by some entity. There are certification agencies that will certify civilian detector dogs. Training is available from many vendors. You'd have to search to find where they are located, length of training etc. It can be done. In fact, it's done in many places.

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I think you also need to be careful of the training agencies as well as the insurnance and legal (court requirements). I know in CA that they were NOT doing that, due to the liabilities.
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