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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone here in LE know of a good narcotics detection training course in NorCal? I tried contacting Witmer-Tyson, no answer.
There is an occasional and lucrative need in the private sector in which I now work. SAR is going really well but it'd be great to get paid for that nose too.
 

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Is your SAR team ok with you cross training a dog in another discipline? Many are not. Obviously cadaver will be out of the question if you do narcotics.
 

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There is a very sticky situation that can occur when a dog is cross trained outside of human odor.. Go to court on something and it might bite ya in the fanny. That is if you are using the same dog. Just do your research and make sure all 'i' s are dotted and 't' s crossed..
 

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There are some companies that will train an individual to do narcotics searches. I can't think of the name off the top of my head. I suppose you could buy pseudo and start training on that. I have a handler that I have trained his dog to hit all the odors, it was just for fun for him. The training is not hard. The issue becomes when you are called out. What do you do when your dog alerts? What if your dog locates Meth, Heroin, cocaine or Ecstasy? What are you going to do? How is that handled by the person that hired you?

We generally will not do searches for private individuals or businesses. The reason being is that some unscrupulous folks might have your there to see how well their packaging is and if your dog alerts to it. You might inadvertently be helping a dope dealer.
 

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There are some companies that will train an individual to do narcotics searches. I can't think of the name off the top of my head. I suppose you could buy pseudo and start training on that. I have a handler that I have trained his dog to hit all the odors, it was just for fun for him. The training is not hard. The issue becomes when you are called out. What do you do when your dog alerts? What if your dog locates Meth, Heroin, cocaine or Ecstasy? What are you going to do? How is that handled by the person that hired you?

We generally will not do searches for private individuals or businesses. The reason being is that some unscrupulous folks might have your there to see how well their packaging is and if your dog alerts to it. You might inadvertently be helping a dope dealer.
Doubt it. :smile2:
Of course you don't do searches for individuals or corporations. I didn't either when I did what you do.
I see this is not the correct forum to ask this question.
 

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Jim asked a very important question.
You are on a search.
Your dog indicates on drugs.
What happens? Play out the scenarios and think it through.

Your dog is also a drug dog. Could that make you and your dog and other teammates a target? I knew one team in the mountains that changed their uniforms because they got shot at for looking like the police.

I would not personally touch it with a 10 foot pole. Why not just get a second dog for that discipline? Easier to maintain two dogs in two disciplines than one dog in two.
 

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Hence the problem in court, potentially.. Dog is trained on human odor (specific or not) and narcotics.. A good attorney will drill you and your training. Was the dog alerting on the human or the drugs? Etc.. Separate dogs resolves any potential conflicts.
 

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Hence the problem in court, potentially.. Dog is trained on human odor (specific or not) and narcotics.. A good attorney will drill you and your training. Was the dog alerting on the human or the drugs? Etc.. Separate dogs resolves any potential conflicts.
I could certainly see other issues in court. I would think the alert, i.e. behavioral changes and the trained response would be very different.

I know with Boomer alerts to apartment doors for dope and people were vastly different. I could tell in a hotel / motel hallway doing interdiction of there was a dog in the room, people or dope. Or dope and people, the response was different, even if it was subtle. Boomer was trained to check doors for people as a patrol dog and to check doors / rooms for dope. I never had an issue distinguishing the difference, even when both were present.

I love getting questioned by defense attorneys that are suddenly K-9 experts for one case. If you remain calm, listen to the question, then ask them to repeat and explain the question and exactly what they mean, you quickly see them become unsettled. >:) One of the classics is "how many times has your dog false alerted?" I ask them to explain what they mean by a "false alert?" I respond "never" on the street. Then I explain the certification process in detail, then I explain our training in detail, then the way a dog actually indicates and behaves in the odor of narcotics. Then I explain "unsubstantiated alerts" and the Supreme Courts view on unsubstantiated alerts and the three situations where it can occur. Generally, the next thing the defense atty says is "No further questions." :wink2:
 

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As police officer you get that extra training and have the back up that most independent contractors don't have. Having a SAR dog that also does narcotics is asking for trouble, from those in the industry I've talked to. They always advocate a separate dog for dope and human. Not that it can't be done, just saves on alot of potential problems.. Even LE in our area likes to have the distinction.

As to the courtroom, love that have put attorneys playing 'K9 cop' experts to the test! Excellent! Again, and unfortunately, for SAR personnel (outside of HRD) in general aren't under oath often and most people don't feel comfortable when challenged in the hot seat. That being said, if ya know your stuff and the law backing you then listening and responding usually gets the attorneys flustered. I've heard hilarious stories where defense attorneys ate crow big time..
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Jim asked a very important question.
You are on a search.
Your dog indicates on drugs.
What happens? Play out the scenarios and think it through.

Your dog is also a drug dog. Could that make you and your dog and other teammates a target? I knew one team in the mountains that changed their uniforms because they got shot at for looking like the police.

I would not personally touch it with a 10 foot pole. Why not just get a second dog for that discipline? Easier to maintain two dogs in two disciplines than one dog in two.
I did not think about the dog indicating on drugs during a search for a missing person, that would be a problem albeit unlikely and I'm unconcerned about being a target. The contexts are very different, my dog understands contexts, heeling at an ipo field v. walking in town at my side, bite work in a harness v. tracking or trailing in a harness. The equipment used would be different. I hear your concern. My sar sponsor isn't concerned, she's interested, you'd know her if you were in the CA sar community.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
There is a very sticky situation that can occur when a dog is cross trained outside of human odor.. Go to court on something and it might bite ya in the fanny. That is if you are using the same dog. Just do your research and make sure all 'i' s are dotted and 't' s crossed..
Go to court for what, finding narcotics as a private person for a private person, corporation? Unlikely unless it's a large amount. Yet one of the reasons I asked about a certified training course. This sure went sideways, thanks folks.
 

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Going to court if used by LE and a good lawyer on the defense finds out you use a dual purpose dog is the first that comes to mind, but there are other scenarios. This isn't to say it can't be done, but I would think you would want to know the potential pitfalls and complications before embarking on any new endeavor. Maybe not... Either way, the information is offered as something to consider. Good luck. Private contractors can make good money
 

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Melgar v Greene. Bite trained dog locating and biting a missing person who would have died had not the dog found him. Admittedly a police K9. . Miscalculations and big payout. Reason why some departments won't allow any bite trained dog to search for any missing person or muzzle their dogs when they do.

Lawsuits. Rare but they do happen when a dog fails to locate a person in their area. There was a big case in NC a number of years ago where a child died because the dog did not find them. Glad I was not a part of it. I would beef up my training logs to clearly and repeatedly show the presence of drugs in the search area does not distract the dog.

I assume there may also be lawsuits if your dog finds drugs at a company and someone is fired as a result. Here in the southeast employers can fire folks without cause but in CA you may face different circumstances.

Things are just so much cleaner with single purpose dogs.
 
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