K9 Officer's Manual by Robert S. EdenK9 Officer's Manual by Robert S. Eden

K9 Officer's Manual

byRobert S. Eden

Paperback | January 1, 1993

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Inside this book you will find comprehensive information on every aspect of the K9 unit, from administration to officer safety on the job. With two decades of experience, R. S. Eden presents expert training exercises and deployment procedures. Action photos back up his points. In addition, the author examines the attitudes of law enforcement officers from both within and outside the K9 team and analyzes how this affects officer performance and morale.

1. K9 administration2. Patrol officer’s guide to K93. K9 officers4. The basics of survival5. Range training for K9 applications6. Handler control vs. reasonable force7. Tracking8. Tracking on-line vs. off-line9. Officer effectiveness on the track10. Building searches11. Flashlight techniques12. Vehicle stops13. Emergency response team ...
Title:K9 Officer's ManualFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:224 pages, 9 × 7.28 × 0.53 inShipping dimensions:9 × 7.28 × 0.53 inPublished:January 1, 1993Publisher:Brush EducationLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1550590618

ISBN - 13:9781550590616


From the Author

Inside this book you will find comprehensive information on every aspect of the K9 unit, from administration to officer safety on the job. With two decades of experience, R. S. Eden presents expert training exercises and deployment procedures. Action photos back up his points. In addition, the author examines the attitudes of law enforcement officers from both within and outside the K9 team and analyzes how this affects officer performance and morale.

Read from the Book

Chapter 1: K9 AdministrationIntroduction To Police AdministratorsThere are many differences in the way law enforcement agencies organize and operate their K9 units. Whatever those differences may be, there is one factor common to most departments. In the United States and Canada, budget constraints almost always hit the dog section of a department before any other section.This has a direct effect on the officers within the section and their ability to perform successfully on the street, which in turn affects the safety of both the dog handlers and line officers they support.Budget ConstraintsBudget constraint is a necessary evil with any agency. Cutting costs in any section is difficult and there is never an easy solution. The difference between the dog section and other sections of the department is the liability factor. If you have dogs on the street, the department’s potential for lawsuits will be considerable if those teams do not have the most up-to-date training available. Training budgets for a K9 section (including courses, in-service training and associated equipment) cannot afford to be conservative. To limit budgets will only put the program and department at risk.Record KeepingAny good police service dog needs to be worked consistently and regularly to keep him efficient in all areas of training. While it is preferable to have a full time-training program operating, budgets of small departments may not be capable of supporting a full-time in-service program. At the minimum, weekly in-service training programs are required to keep K9 teams proficient.With liability concerns as they are today, any administrator who is responsible for a dog unit has to make training and record keeping a priority. This record keeping must document all weekly in-service training which is required to keep a team at a basic level of proficiency. Note that 35 to 40 percent of a K9 team’s in-service time must be spent on training, in order for them to maintain a minimum standard of proficiency. This is considered a minimum. Agencies which fail to support their K9 teams with adequate training time are putting their officers at risk while also running a high risk of liability for their department.Good record keeping cannot be stressed enough, and accurate training records are only the first in a series of documents that the dog unit should maintain. Whenever a team is deployed—regardless of success—submit a report outlining the application and circumstances of the event. Document any use of force by the dog on a suspect; if the dog has made physical contact with the suspect, the injury site should be photographed and held on file.If adequately defined, these deployment records not only supply pertinent data for court purposes, but can also reveal patterns for the unit’s head trainer. By studying a series of deployment reports over a given period of time, the training officer can determine weaknesses in a particular dog team’s training. For example a team may exhibit a high rate of failure on tracking applications where there is a time delay in excess of ten minutes, or where the temperature is higher than 15.5 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit). This could be indicative of a dog that lacks stamina and needs work in these areas.Health records on each dog are vital to ensure the dog’s shots and medical checkups are kept up to date. This protects the department as well.Record keeping can often be a cumbersome task, as any police officer knows. However it is the best protection you have against liabilities. It can be a double-edged sword as well, as any documentation can be subpoenaed by defense counsel or litigation attorneys. It is prudent for officers to write their reports with this in mind.K9 Training SchoolsAbbreviated Training SchoolsA common arrangement used by administrators in the United States in attempts to cut costs is to send officers on abbreviated training programs. They reason they cannot afford to send the officer away on a twelve- to sixteen-week training program, due to the time he would be off the road. The problems with this type of an operation are numerous and all too common, and the result is time lost and double the intended investment. The following situation is an example of problems which arise when a department tries to cut corners financially.Case StudyAn officer who was having a problem with his dog contacted me. His department had purchased a dog and sent it to a private training facility to train. When the dog’s training was complete, the officer attended a three-week handler course to learn how to work with the dog. He sent me a video to view and after giving him some recommendations, I stated my doubts about the dog’s ability to be street workable. The team hit the streets and had problems almost immediately. The officer who was handling the dog had never worked dogs before. As a result he had to trust in the judgment of the facility his department hired to evaluate and train his dog. He had no concept of how to work out the problems on his own. He had not been through a complete training program that taught him how to evaluate problems and train the dog. He had only learned the rudimentary concepts of how to handle an already trained animal.The dog worked a year on the street but never made any physical contact with any suspect. His tracking ability was excellent, but his lack of will to make physical contact or fight suspects caused the handler genuine concern. In speaking with me he advised of a situation which occurred that he felt was quite serious. The dog had abandoned him during a dangerous confrontation with a suspect, failing him entirely. The officer was concerned that if he reported to his administration that the dog was unworkable, the program would be shut down. In this case, the dog was removed from the program and the officer was sent on another training program with a new dog.Private AgenciesMany dogs sold throughout North America to police K9 programs are imported from overseas suppliers by private agencies. When the dog arrives in the United States or Canada, the importing agent often has no knowledge of the history of the animal. Since the demand for police dogs is great, these agencies often locate, train and sell dogs very quickly. Even with minimum turn around time, the agencies are unable to keep up with the demand for dogs. Fortunately most companies are reputable and put the proper time into the dog before placing the dog with a law enforcement agency.Handler CandidatesOnce the dog is ready, the police department then sends a candidate officer for training. Often the officer is chosen because he has exhibited the most interest in the program, or because he is a high producer on the street. These qualifications do not always make a good dog handler. Although the officer has the desire, he might not have the type of personality to become a good handler. An experienced dog trainer will be able to help in making that judgment.The officer who attends a brief program obtains the minimum amount of training required to handle the dog. Through no fault of the training agency, he receives a small portion of the training he really requires. This is a direct result of time constraints placed upon him.As a result of these limitations the officer can only learn basic handling skills. There is not enough time to teach him how to train a dog. Any experienced K9 officer knows an officer cannot properly work a dog without adequate basic training as a foundation. When a training problem such as control work comes forth at a later date, the officer has no concept of how to correct it properly. His only recourse is to return to the training centre to remedy the problem. This takes the team off the road again and is a further added expense for the department. If the problem is ignored because the department cannot afford to send the officer for remedial work, they are exposed to possible lawsuit. It is not hard to see why a short handler’s course with a pre-trained dog might not be suitable.Abbreviated programs are ideal for officers who have previously completed a full training program and have worked a dog on the street for a number of years. They can take advantage of the reduced training time and at the same time be upgraded in their training.Training vs. HandlingThere is a distinct difference between training a dog and handling a dog. A well-trained dog can be handled by giving it appropriate direction and working with the animal. However, an officer cannot train a dog simply by learning how to handle it.A good dog handler must understand how his dog thinks and how to read and understand the dog’s behavior language. He must have a full understanding of how he can communicate with his dog and how his dog communicates with him. This is a prerequisite to the officer’s tactical training, as everything the dog does tells the officer about the situation. Subtle body movements can indicate imminent danger to the well trained officer. The only way to learn the skills required to communicate with his partner adequately is for the officer to train the dog from the start.The officer needs to learn how to select an untrained dog. He then learns to temperament test the dog for law enforcement use and how to train him. Upon completing a full program the officer then has the ability to work on most problems that arise in the dog’s performance, without having to return to the agency where the dog was purchased.Full Training ProgramsIf an officer starts to encounter training problems with his dog, the only recourse many departments have is corrective training at the facility where the dog was acquired. The agency that sold the dog employs qualified trainers who can work out the problems with the dog and return the team back to duty, but this is not productive or cost-effective.Placing the officer through a full training program is a long term savings and produces teams that are superior on the street to those who have only received a basic handlers program. Afull training program also allows the officer to learn advanced tactical training crucial to a K9 team. I cannot stress enough the need for full and proper training that includes officer survival techniques. A successful team will encounter more armed suspects and be at a higher risk simply because of its success rate. Therefore, it is reprehensible to deny a team appropriate training.If you are going to use a private vendor, send your officer to a training facility which offers a full training program—one which allows him to learn how to train the dog from the basics up.Apprehension TechniquesReasonable Force vs. Handler ControlWith the debate over standard handler-control training, as opposed to reasonable-force work, the dangers of civil litigation have become more complex. Reasonable force, which is also referred to as minimum force or circle and bark, has stirred up a lot of controversy about how police dogs are used in our society. It is a fallacy that using reasonable-force dogs alleviates lawsuits.Numerous lawsuits have been launched from police dog applications involving victims who have been needlessly attacked by service dogs. Although the lawsuit may be the result of a dog bite, the handler’s judgment and training will be the focal point of attorneys’ cross-examinations. When there is justification for K9 application, every court in North America to date has upheld the use of handler-control techniques.Reasonable-force dogs, both in theory and in practice in some departments, perform very well as street dogs. They sustain a low “bite ratio” on suspects, which appeals to department administrations. However, many hours of training are required for reasonable-force dog teams in order to keep the dogs sufficiently clean. This means if the training is not both proper and consistent, the dog will begin to bite in street applications when not warranted.Agencies who buy pretrained Schutzhund-based dogs will be more susceptible to training difficulties and have a high risk for liability. Schutzhund dogs are trained for sporting events, with an emphasis on control work. This training is done in a sterile, cut and dried type of environment where the dog is conditioned to perform with exactly the same response in every situation. The scenarios never change and the same response is expected o f the dog in each situation. Street situations are different with every application of a dog. The conditioning done in Schutzhund training, if extended into the advanced phases of training, causes difficulties when the dog must be converted to police work application. With the diversities required for police work, the police trainer frequently has to “untrain” the dog to make him useful for police work. If the dog is at an advanced level of Schutzhund training, this retraining of the dog can be difficult, and in times of real life applications the dog may revert back to its original training. This return to the basics first learned by the dog during Schutzhund training can mean a deadly situation on the street.When purchasing potential candidates, Schutzhund-based dogs are excellent prospects for police work if acquired before training has passed beyond a Schutzhund I level. Anything over that can create specific difficulties for the law enforcement trainer. If your department has mandated a reasonable force policy, contact an agency that is running a successful police-oriented reasonable force program based on the German police methods of training. Two excellent training programs at the time of this writing are run by Wendell Nope at the Utah POST Academy in Salt Lake City, Utah and Terry Rogers of the Denver Police Department K9 Unit.Theory of Reasonable ForceThe theory of reasonable-force dogs maintains that if a suspect gives up, the dog will not bite, and that the dog is frequently in the position to make the decision whether or not to bite. Depending on the level of basic training and the amount of in-service work, this may or may not be true.The dog has no ability to reason out a decision as to what the suspect’s intentions are. The dog will only react to circumstances for which he has been conditioned. If improperly conditioned, he will bite when it is not warranted, or will not bite when needed the most. No trainer could possibly condition a dog for every conceivable action or reaction it will encounter on the street. This imposes limitations on the reasonable-force teams.A handler using handler-control methods of apprehension, given the same set of circumstances as a reasonable-force dog, will direct his dog to bite only when necessary. If circumstances do not warrant a bite, the handler calls the dog off the attack, orders the dog to guard the suspect and proceeds with the arrest.With a reasonable-force dog, when circumstances warrant a bite, the dog will also bite and hold onto the suspect until called off by the handler. If the situation does not warrant a bite, the dog continues to harass the suspect until the officer intervenes to make the arrest.With the handler-control technique, the decision to have the dog physically apprehend a suspect by biting is made by the handler, who must remain within sight of his dog. The reasonable-force dog, on the other hand, makes that decision on his own, according to a perceived threat, if not under the direct supervision of a handler.A dog which does not work under the direct supervision of the handler is the key difference between a reasonable-force dog and a handler-controlled dog, which is always under direct supervision by its handler. The marketing of reasonable-force methods seems in retrospect to be a strategy which has been sold to administrations to compensate for past problems. Instead of writing appropriate policies, being more cautious in the choice of handlers, keeping abreast of the latest training techniques and holding handlers accountable for their actions and applications of their dogs, the trend has been more towards allowing the dog to make the decision and training him not to bite unless the suspect shows an obvious physical form of aggression or escape. Unfortunately, not all suspects who use deadly force on police dogs and officers do so in such an aggressive manner that a reasonable-force dog can discern the intent in enough time to avert tragedy.Bite RatiosStatistical analysis of “bite ratios” can be deceptive. They can be manipulated to produce whatever results the researcher wishes to yield. Statistics produced comparing one agency to another do not often compare other mitigating circumstances. The level of crime rate might not be comparable. The number of violent suspects located as opposed to the number of property crime suspects located who did not resist arrest might not be included in the information.The most recent report I have seen was published by the research and development office of a major city police department. The agency was doing research to determine if they should change their policy from bite-and-hold to reasonable-force applications. The research involved a comprehensive questionnaire sent to various departments regarding their policies and procedures. Agencies using both methods of apprehension were queried. Information was requested regarding any lawsuits against those departments arising from dog apprehensions. There were surprisingly few to report. However, at the time there were more lawsuits against reasonable-force departments than against handler control. It should be noted that the agency which conducted the research has, to date, stayed with its handler-control policy.LiabilityThe liability for any dog bite rests on the shoulders of the handler, his supervisors and the department. For this reason, policy must be written which details under what circumstances a dog may be deployed and what procedures the officer must then follow. In general terms, this policy states that the officer’s use of force with his dog must be within reasonable-force guidelines and within the laws governing that jurisdiction. Officer safety, along with public safety, must be the foremost consideration.Documentation on each application must be detailed and complete. The extent of injury and the circumstances leading up to the application of the dog, as well as medical follow up treatment for the victim, needs to be recorded.Liability is certainly no greater on a dog bite than on the misuse of a handgun, baton, or any other form of control device used by law enforcement. The application of these weapons must follow strict SOP guidelines within any department.Minimizing LiabilityBoth handler-control and reasonable-force training styles have merit. If you have mandated reasonable-force applications, keep in mind they will not minimize liability any more than a properly trained handler-control team. Regardless of what method of apprehension techniques is applied, the potential for lawsuits remains the same. Liability can only be minimized when the dog is applied using clearly defined standard operating procedure, enforced by close supervision and documentation.K9 Applications For Emergency Response TeamIntegrating K9 Teams and ERTIn today’s law enforcement there is a need for the use of police dogs in ERT applications. Many pro-active departments use the K9 team in ERT situations as an integral part of their operations. Sadly, however, many more departments have tried incorporating dogs into their ERT training only to have the programs fail miserably.There are many ideas and differences of opinion amongst departments about the applications of dogs in emergency response tactics. Some departments excel in their combined operations. Others fail to such a degree that their administrators state they would never try to combine K9 and ERT again.From an experienced K9 handler’s point of view the answers are very simple. To an administrator or tactical team member who has only a basic knowledge of how a dog works, these answers can be hard to comprehend.To dispel any misconception an officer may have regarding ERT and K9, the simple fact is that K9 can be a very useful and integral part of an ERT team. There are limitations, and to be successful every administrator, K9 handler and team member must be aware of them.Law enforcement agencies who decide to use K9 teams with ERT must be very careful about how they approach their programs. A good patrol dog team does not necessarily make a good team for dynamic door entries.One of the major reasons K9 and ERT programs fail is due to the improper choice of the team.Any good K9 handler will have an interest in working with ERT. It is an exciting challenge which offers a chance to become more diversified. Any dog handler I have met thrives on the action which comes from working the dog. Often, however, this can get in the way of making objective decisions about whether the team is the right one for the job. A few guidelines might be the easiest way to give a better insight into preparing for K9 applications in tactical situations.GuidelinesWhen evaluating your needs for a specialized team, set down a guideline of what you will expect the team to do. Once your goals are set, then thoroughly m eet each one. Obtain assistance from experts who have experience in the field.Choose your K9 handler as you would any other team member. First, he must be trained as thoroughly as every other member in all aspects of tactical work. Do not choose a new K9 handler, or expect to put a fresh dog straight into ERT. The better choice is an experienced K9 officer with a seasoned dog.The handler chosen must know his own limitations as well as those of his dog. He must also know when not to apply the dog just as he knows when and how to apply his dog.To use a dog when the situation makes it tactically unsound, simply to make use of the dog, is an invitation to disaster.The handler must know when to back out of a situation and be allowed to do so. In all circumstances, the final decision to deploy the dog must always be left up to the handler.Choice of DogThe proper choice of dog is vital to the success of any program. The temperament ofthe animal must be such that he will be under maximum control of the handler in any circumstances, with a minimum of direction. A seasoned dog who shows stability under gunfire and restraint until directed into action by the handler makes an excellent candidate. The handler must be able to keep the dog silent and in many circumstances control the dog through hand signals for specific movements, without ever having to worry about the animal voicing. The element of surprise is lost should the suspect hear the dog bark while the team is setting up. This control can come only from proper preparation and the choice of an appropriate team.Never, under any circumstances send your K9 teams to work in a serious situation with your ERT team unless they have trained together.Using the K9 teams to secure the outer perimeter during ERT operations should be the nonly use of any team which has not trained as an integral part of the team.Use of K9 TeamsDoor EntriesThe uses of the dog in ERT situations are very diversified. The risk of any K9 being killed during a ERT operation is very high if he is used for door entries. To lose any dog is a great loss, however to lose a dog that regularly works the streets as a patrol dog can be an even greater loss. Not only would the department lose a specialty dog for ERT, they would also lose a dog that is used daily for patrol. The circumstances of each case must be evaluated and the risks considered and carefully weighed before deploying the K9. Under no circumstances is a dog a replacement for a simple waiting game on a barricaded gunman. Where circumstances without the dog do not warrant entry, neither do they warrant an entry simply because a K9 team is available. This is an unnecessary risk.Barricaded SuspectsDuring any barricaded situation your K9 teams can be used for outer perimeter containment should a suspect somehow manage to escape through the inner perimeter. A fleeing felon is an easy mark for a well trained team. At night the dog can often indicate to the handler when someone is on the move, even though the target is not visible. As the dog hears or smells the suspect the handler is alerted to possible target movement in circumstances where the suspect is trying to move out under the cover of darkness. If circumstances warrant applying the dog to check out the indication, the dog is released to neutralize the subject. This is particularly useful in open field searches for known armed suspects.Where an armed suspect is barricaded in a building and negotiations are continuing, the use of any intervention by force is questionable as long as negotiations are effective. Circumstances must dictate whether the dog’s life should be risked, as opposed to simply waiting the offender out. Once the decision has been made, the dog’s action must be swift, accurate and sure. There is no time to reconsider your options. It is essential that the team is rapid and effective. Any hesitation by the animal is likely to result in violent repercussions. When use of a dog fails, it closes any doors which have been opened through negotiation. The proper application of the dog must be in co-ordination with an entry team that will enter the building whether the dog is successful or not.Suicidal SuspectsWhere a subject is threatening suicide and continually pointing a weapon at himself, a dog team is often considered. The catch to these circumstances is that many of these subjects are passive. For this reason, the dog must be capable of taking down and disarming a passive suspect as effectively as an aggressive suspect.Reasonable-force dogs should not be used for ERT team applications, or applied on passive suspects. Handler-control dogs trained to attack passive suspects are preferred in these situations. The use of reasonable-force dogs has resulted in the loss of good dogs as well as loss of human life when improperly applied in seemingly passive circumstances.Case StudyKansas City, Missouri lost one of its finest dogs during a K9 application into a house, going after an armed suspect who was wanted for the attempted murder of a police officer. Tactical teams deployed on the house and the handler deployed the dog to search for the suspect after calling out warnings into the residence. The dog located the suspect and immediately went into a reasonable force type of indication by barking at the suspect instead of attacking, even though the suspect was within reach. The suspect fired two shots into the dog. Although the dog managed to pull his way back to his handler, and was rushed to a nearby veterinary clinic, he died of his injuries.Suspect LocationService dogs can be used to locate a gunman in a building using a stealth approach. Backed up by ERT, the officer places his dog on long line. The building is then searched for any hiding places the suspect could be. When the dog indicates a location the ERT team is advised to secure that area. The search then continues to ensure there are no more suspects, or the suspect has not moved prior to the first indication of the dog. This is an accurate method of detecting where the suspect is concealed and pinpoints the location for the team to work on. At this point the dog team takes up a position of rear security and containment and allows ERT to do its job, now the specific location of the suspect has been determined.CS/CN Gas ConditionsThe dog team is also used on door entries. The dog is not affected to a great degree by the use of CS or CN munitions and is a powerful tool under gas conditions. Once an area has been secured and the appropriate amount of chemical agent applied, the dog is deployed into the area to locate and disarm the suspect.Training profiles show most dogs lose no effectiveness in their olfactory capabilities and are very capable of searching for offenders in gas conditions. Experiments where the dog worked in CN or CS gas to search for hidden articles or suspects resulted in the dog being successful on every occasion with little or no side effects. The smoke used in tactical operations is a problem however, and the dogs must be trained in these environments extensively before being applied in live situations. Keep this capability in mind should you need to clear a building of any further possible suspects after an operation.

Table of Contents

1. K9 administration
2. Patrol officer’s guide to K9
3. K9 officers
4. The basics of survival
5. Range training for K9 applications
6. Handler control vs. reasonable force
7. Tracking
8. Tracking on-line vs. off-line
9. Officer effectiveness on the track
10. Building searches
11. Flashlight techniques
12. Vehicle stops
13. Emergency response team support
14. Chemical agents
15. K9 testimony
16. Police dog protection and safety
17. K9 trauma care
18. Valor