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Old 06-09-2019, 07:33 PM
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How effective are drug-sniffing dogs, and how are they certified?


I was reading through a thread about what police can do if you refuse to allow the police to search your car, someone brought up the possibility that the police would bring in drug-sniffing dogs, and I am curious as to how accurate they really are and what kind of training they have to go through to become official D-S dogs?
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:18 PM
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Not as accurate as TV, movies & the police would like us to think. The canine units get trained to do what their handlers tell them to do and they pick up way too much subtext from the handler; they're more likely to give a false positive if the suspect is Latino or pretty much any other person of color. I read another report on Cracked in which they tested dogs by hiding samples under cardboard boxes in a field. They told the handlers that the drugs were under the boxes with the green labels, not the blue ones, and almost every dog alerted on almost every green box, even though the drugs were all randomly placed under both green & blue boxes.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-...ten-than-right
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:26 PM
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I'm given to understand that they can't train dogs with trace amounts of cocaine, by the time they were done, the dogs would be addicts, or dead. In the case of cocaine, they are trained on the scents of a common contaminant, the exact identity of which is kept secret.

I do know that the chemical company Sigma-Aldrich sold training scents for canines, for dogs to be trained to detect bodies, and other things. You can just buy those if you have a lab, there didn't seem to be specific licenses or permits needed, unlike for many other chemicals.
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
Not as accurate as TV, movies & the police would like us to think. The canine units get trained to do what their handlers tell them to do and they pick up way too much subtext from the handler; they're more likely to give a false positive if the suspect is Latino or pretty much any other person of color. I read another report on Cracked in which they tested dogs by hiding samples under cardboard boxes in a field. They told the handlers that the drugs were under the boxes with the green labels, not the blue ones, and almost every dog alerted on almost every green box, even though the drugs were all randomly placed under both green & blue boxes.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-...ten-than-right
And further, in your article, while the dogs were right 44% of the time, this is only (by definition) the times when the police called them out in the first place. So the officer at least had a hunch that there were drugs in the car. That's one problem.

If the dog hits on lingering weed smell from last week, there will be no drugs found today. That's a second problem.

The fact that the Supreme Court allows a positive drug hit to act as probable cause for a search....is outside of the bounds of GQ.
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:16 PM
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They didn't find my weed. It was wrapped in cling film and stuffed into a bottle of moisturiser. The dogs came right up and sniffed all our carry on luggage.

Last edited by Isamu; 06-09-2019 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Arkcon View Post
I'm given to understand that they can't train dogs with trace amounts of cocaine, by the time they were done, the dogs would be addicts, or dead. In the case of cocaine, they are trained on the scents of a common contaminant, the exact identity of which is kept secret.

I do know that the chemical company Sigma-Aldrich sold training scents for canines, for dogs to be trained to detect bodies, and other things. You can just buy those if you have a lab, there didn't seem to be specific licenses or permits needed, unlike for many other chemicals.
But how effective is this process when it comes to training the dogs?
Also, what does it take to become an official drug-sniffing dog? Is there a specific course they have to take and/or specific certification?
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:55 AM
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I got busted by a sniffing dog at the Cancun airport. He went right for my shoulder bag.

When the dog handler opened my bag, she confiscated my sandwich. Which was legal to bring into the country. My only crime was to arrive at lunch time.

Sure I could have filled out the forms and protested the confiscation, but it would take days for it to be reviewed. And the sandwich would never be the same.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:56 AM
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Looking for facts, not anecdotes.
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Looking for facts, not anecdotes.

Sorry if the fact was not apparent. The OP asks *How effective are drug-sniffing dogs*.

This drug-sniffing dog was turned into a sandwich-sniffing dog.

So, in answer to the OP...Not very effective.
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Old 06-10-2019, 03:18 PM
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This should help the OP with the accuracy question. Notice that the dogs worked for Polish police. I think it is well documented that American police will typically give conscious or unconscious cues for a "hit". I'm sure that is completely NOT because they want to manufacture probable cause to search the person or car.
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Old 06-10-2019, 03:32 PM
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This should help the OP with the accuracy question. Notice that the dogs worked for Polish police. I think it is well documented that American police will typically give conscious or unconscious cues for a "hit". I'm sure that is completely NOT because they want to manufacture probable cause to search the person or car.
Thank you.
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Old 06-10-2019, 09:08 PM
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When I lived in Japan, the police lost some drugs which they had placed in an unsuspecting traveler’s bags. It was done at Narita airport on a day I happened to return there.

The dog didn’t pick it up and they lost track of the bag.

Later the person found the drugs and turned them in.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:48 PM
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I recall several articles (Techdirt, I think) discussing court cases with drug sniffing dogs. The dogs are below 50% accurate but the courts generally refuse to consider that evidence, or the possibility that police handlers give cues to dogs. The only saving grace in these cases was the ruling in one that the police could not unnecessarily detain and delay a traffic stop beyond what was "reasonable" for the traffic stop to allow a K9 unit to arrive without probably cause for the extended detention. Once they had "probable cause" the police could search, particularly if it led to cash that the police could confiscate with or more likely without charges.
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:27 AM
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I recall reading a study several years ago in which “Eighteen drug and/or explosive detection dog/handler teams each completed two sets of four brief search scenarios “ and ALL the detection alerts were wrong – there were 225 alerts but none of the detected substances had ever been in any of the search locations (inside a church).

Animal Cognition
May 2011, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 387–394
Handler beliefs affect scent detection dog outcomes
https://link.springer.com/article/10...-0373-2#citeas


I have had one experience with a drug sniffing dog search in a Las Vegas casino in the 1980s. Casino management had decided to put a stop to a couple of outdoor areas where casino employees sometimes congregated to smoke pot and management somehow managed to convince local authorities run the drug dogs not only around the smoker hangout but also around the hallway containing employee lockers.

There were over 1000 employees with lockers. The dogs alerted (surprisingly) on only one locker. The locker belonged to a cocktail waitress. The locker was opened and contained only two items – a chunk of cheese that she had brought for lunch and a pair of used pantyhose. No drugs were found.
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Old 06-12-2019, 10:03 AM
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What about the "certification" part? What does a dog have to go through to become an official drug-sniffing dog?
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Old 06-12-2019, 12:22 PM
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Drug-sniffing dogs seem to be mainly about 1: scaring people away, like fake CCTV cameras 2: Giving police a pretext to get probable cause. With good bond, the dog can sense what the handler expects and will eagerly give it to him because he's a good boy. Yes he is.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TokyoBayer View Post
When I lived in Japan, the police lost some drugs which they had placed in an unsuspecting traveler’s bags. It was done at Narita airport on a day I happened to return there.

The dog didn’t pick it up and they lost track of the bag.

Later the person found the drugs and turned them in.
Does that sound extremely suspicious to anyone else?
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelEmouse View Post

Does that sound extremely suspicious to anyone else?
Probably because of jet lag, I found the story amusing enough that I posted a thread with a title something like “Police Lose Drugs, Don’t Lose Them to Me.”
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