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Old 05-10-2019, 07:17 PM
aceplace57 is offline
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Are Police K9's typically a threat to police officers at a crime scene?


This local incident made me aware of a potential problem with K-9's. They're trained to attack people with weapons.

How do officers, holding weapons, at a scene avoid becoming the K-9's target?

There's a internal affairs investigation into this friendly fire incident. I'd guess the dog should have been on a leash. Btw, it survived the shooting.

https://katv.com/news/local/internal...-friendly-fire
Quote:
Officer Jason Myers and his K9 partner Rocket were taking a break in the parking lot when gunfire opened on the range. The unleashed dog then began running to the area where shots had been fired, as he is trained to do, police say. 

Sgt. John Porbeck heard the dog approaching and heard Myers shouting commands to the K9, however, the dog continued running "at full speed" towards him, says Sally Smith, public information specialist for the Jonesboro Police Department.

Smith said the dog then "attempted to engage Sgt. Porbeck, to which he was able to dodge." When the K9 attempted to engage again, Porbeck fired his weapon, shooting the dog.

Last edited by aceplace57; 05-10-2019 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 05-10-2019, 07:30 PM
Sicks Ate is offline
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Police K9s are about 1/9th as trained and capable as you assume them to be. I'm sure some of them are really great, but a lot of them are trained to be aggressive and respond to handler cues for drugs.

You can apply that last sentence to cops, for that matter.
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Old 05-10-2019, 07:39 PM
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That particular K-9 didn't respond to his handler's commands. I'm sure that is a concern for the Jonesboro police department.

Do all the officers on scene pull back before the K-9 is unleashed?

It's hard to understand how the K-9 gets sent after the right target.

Last edited by aceplace57; 05-10-2019 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 05-10-2019, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
That particular K-9 didn't respond to his handler's commands. I'm sure that is a concern for the Jonesboro police department.

Do all the officers on scene pull back before the K-9 is unleashed?

It's hard to understand how the K-9 gets sent after the right target.
There are a ton of kennels/"trainers" that claim to produce police working dogs, and train their handlers.

Agencies that can afford to work with the good kennels/trainers/handler training CAN get what you expect from a police dog and handler. This is in no way guaranteed, though.

Buttfuck PD, who can't afford to computerize their ticketing system but somehow found money for a dog, needless to say, probably isn't spending as much as they should to get an appropriate dog, or to pay for the handler to work with the dog for weeks of training together.

So, what you end up with is cops who think they're hot shit because they have a dog, and dogs who aren't worth a crap except to attack people or to be able to say that it 'alerted' on a vehicle.
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Old 05-10-2019, 08:16 PM
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I once interviewed a US Army military dog handler who served in Iraq with his dog.

Apparently the dogs are highly trained enough to follow the handlers commands exactly so there was never any incidents of the dog attacking fellow soldiers while the handler was around.

However there was one incident where the dogs handler was knocked out by the concussion blast from a nearby rocket attack and without being able to get commands the dog proceeded on its own to attack the nearest visible threat who happened to be another American soldier firing back during the attack. Dog had to be restrained until the handler got back on his feet.
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Old 05-10-2019, 09:32 PM
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My husband handled canines for a few years while working for East BF PD.

He enjoyed the work enough that he paid for his own dogs. The dog was his, and he was the dog's person, and that makes a huge difference in how any dog behaves. A half-trained dog on his second half-trained handler is a liability.

A good boi and his person can be a great asset, if and only if both know their jobs. And no good police K9 should be trained to be aggressive. Confident yes. Mean no.

Our dogs were just schmoopy family members when off duty. I mean, a stranger would have been ill-advised to try to mess with the family, but the children could safely play with the dogs.

A confident dog doesn't have to be aggressive.
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Old 05-11-2019, 09:38 AM
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There's a scene in the book Free for All where the library is giving a free presentation for children about the police, and the officer brings his K9 partner, hides an envelope with marijuana on a shelf and tells the dog to "find the drugs." Whereupon the dog goes to the purse of a young woman in the library!

Good doggie!

ETA: The librarian went over to the woman and suggested she leave, and take her purse with her.

Last edited by Annie-Xmas; 05-11-2019 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 05-11-2019, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
When the K9 attempted to engage again, Porbeck fired his weapon, shooting the dog.
Well, at least shooting dogs is something that police on some forces are actually really good at.
Quote:
A 2016 Reason investigation found that the [Detroit police] department's Major Violators Unit, which conducts drug raids across the city, has a nasty habit of leaving dead dogs in its wake and generating civil rights lawsuits. A follow-up investigation found that Detroit police shot 54 dogs in 2017, twice as many as Chicago.

Last year, Detroit paid $225,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by Kenneth Savage and Ashley Franklin, who claimed Detroit police officers shot their three dogs while the animals were enclosed behind an 8-foot-tall fence—all so the officers could confiscate several potted marijuana plants in the backyard.

<snip>

One officer involved in the Smith raid has shot 80 dogs over the course of his career, according to "destruction of animal" reports filed by Detroit police officers in 2017 and obtained by Reason. Two other officers involved in the Smith raid testified in depositions that they had shot "fewer than 20" and "at least 19" dogs over the course of their careers.
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Old 05-11-2019, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas View Post
There's a scene in the book Free for All where the library is giving a free presentation for children about the police, and the officer brings his K9 partner, hides an envelope with marijuana on a shelf and tells the dog to "find the drugs." Whereupon the dog goes to the purse of a young woman in the library!

Good doggie!

ETA: The librarian went over to the woman and suggested she leave, and take her purse with her.
LOL! that IS a good doggie!
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Old 05-11-2019, 02:29 PM
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In a memorable "Cops" episode, a police officer is in his squad car tailing a suspect, and his K-9 partner is in the front seat next to him. The "Cops" cameraman who's riding in the back leans forward to get a better shot of the action, whereupon the K-9 (an imposing German Shepherd) turns his head and gives the cameraman a "what the FUCK are you doing in my space?" look.

The cameraman immediately leans back to his original position, and everything is cool.
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Old 05-11-2019, 02:39 PM
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Someday we may have similar issues with armed robotic companions. The dog can only be trained so much and clearly in the described scenarios, the person being attacked meets all the right heuristics for a target. These aren't really malfunctions, just limits on what you can expect a dog to be able to see or perceive.
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Old 05-11-2019, 04:46 PM
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As several Dopers have posted, the trainer’s relationship with the dog is paramount. And what the dog is trained to do also factors in. (I have not heard of dogs trained to run toward gunfire. IMHO that is unnecessary and dangerous; and begs the question of the dog being at the shooting range in the first place.)

News stories are notoriously incomplete and we only have the reporter’s statement as to what that dog was trained to do and where the handler was, etc.

As other Dopers have pointed out, there are many variables including the handler’s relationship with the dog, the skill of the handler, how disciplined/experienced/intelligent/excitable the dog is, the situation at hand, etc. There are different breeds, different temperaments, and different training approaches.

In the end, they’re dogs placed in unusual situations and they’re not infallible. I’ve been “nipped” by a K9 who appeared jealous that his handler and I were talking in a parking lot when the dog wanted attention. I’ve also stepped back into, or on, K9’s in tactical situations and not been bitten.

Hope that helps,

AZRob
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Old 05-12-2019, 03:17 AM
aceplace57 is offline
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I appreciate everyone's contributions to this question.

I understand working with k-9's varies a lot depending on the quality of training.
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Old 05-12-2019, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicks Ate View Post
Police K9s are about 1/9th as trained and capable as you assume them to be. I'm sure some of them are really great, but a lot of them are trained to be aggressive and respond to handler cues for drugs.

You can apply that last sentence to cops, for that matter.
This is incorrect in two ways (three if you include your last irrelevant comment.)

1. The headline, as metaphor is absolutely correct. "Friendly fire" is _not_ "typical" for policeman, soldiers, or trained aggressive K9 dogs accompanying policeman on a dangerous mission where a take-down is anticipated.

2. Police K9 dogs (and their handlers) are as trained as rigorously as can be up to standards beyond what we even know, certainly enough where officers rely on them as an auxiliary weapon, so to speak.

3. Most people associate police K9 with two types: 1) those trained apprehension and protection dogs (their range of independent actions when a perp has been apprehended and and being walked to the car is also quite wide) and 2) dogs with police, or agencies such as Secret Service, customs, drug enforcement, etc. for sweeps of explosives or contraband material.

In general, as a "personnel item" for police and budgeting, the grouping is fine.

However, OP thinking is another story, even on his premise of the dog types.

NO customs dog has the slightest clue in a typical crime scene where takedowns and directed, pre-trained unleashed aggression is his billet. They would be unleashed and run and hide or give the bad guy a lick, no matter how hard his handler/cop tried to sic'em on the bad guy.

ETA: The converse is not true, however. Many K9 dogs who are assigned to police work directly involved in dangerous situations are also trained for odor recognition. I'm familiar with some of the work of the NYPD and NYC transit police where the same dogs can also do duty to smell out, specifically, corpses and blood in general.

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 05-12-2019 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 05-12-2019, 02:35 PM
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Correction and apology to OP:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
...However, OP thinking is another story, even on his premise of the dog types...
OP did not bring up "other" odor-recognition dogs, nor of course, was his post cynical.

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 05-12-2019 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:30 PM
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Some years ago a police dog handler told me about an exercise where, against his advice, they put the dog into the building first and then all piled in after it, whereupon it bit them.
"People think that because it's a 'trained police dog' that it's some sort of four-footed furry genius. But it's only a dog, with a very limited understanding."
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:12 PM
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I've always seen in tv shows and real life people say not to touch or try to play with seeing eyes dogs and such because they are highly trained or something and it could potentially mess with their training(?). I never knew if that was really true or not.

I didn't even know till recently when talking to a woman married to a cop that a K-9 Unit (dog) lives with the cop so I'm sure that in theory they should develop quite a close bond. I'm assuming that they engage in regular play or recreation with the dog since it's with them almost all the time.

Do the cops that handle these dogs have to continually reinforce the dog's training when at home with them, do they have have to draw a line somewhere if the dog gets out of hand and repeatedly reinforce the dog's training and not get too close so to speak? Or do they generally let the dog relax and just be a normal dog when not at work?
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Last edited by pool; 05-12-2019 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 05-12-2019, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicks Ate View Post
There are a ton of kennels/"trainers" that claim to produce police working dogs, and train their handlers.

Agencies that can afford to work with the good kennels/trainers/handler training CAN get what you expect from a police dog and handler. This is in no way guaranteed, though.

Buttfuck PD, who can't afford to computerize their ticketing system but somehow found money for a dog, needless to say, probably isn't spending as much as they should to get an appropriate dog, or to pay for the handler to work with the dog for weeks of training together.

So, what you end up with is cops who think they're hot shit because they have a dog, and dogs who aren't worth a crap except to attack people or to be able to say that it 'alerted' on a vehicle.
Sadly, this is all true in many cases.
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Old 05-12-2019, 11:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pool View Post
I've always seen in tv shows and real life people say not to touch or try to play with seeing eyes dogs and such because they are highly trained or something and it could potentially mess with their training(?). I never knew if that was really true or not.
When we trained guide dogs, people would often come up to us to ask to pet them. We usually let them, because it was good training.
I don't think someone petting a working dog is going to ruin its training, but it is still a bad idea. The dog knows the difference from working (having the jacket on for pups) and playing. Random petting may confuse the dog, and disorient it. Not to mention the blind person is going about his or her business, and is not a walking petting zoo.
It's usually not a problem when the dog is a German Shepherd. Not because they are mean - the one my daughter is training now is a sweetie - but because they can be intimidating.
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
.

I don't think someone petting a working dog is going to ruin its training, but it is still a bad idea. The dog knows the difference from working (having the jacket on for pups) and playing. Random petting may confuse the dog, and disorient it.
When my kids were really little, one to three, we lived near a park where an obedience school would train dogs. They would refuse to let kids pet the dogs for the same reason. It would disrupt the training session.
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:20 AM
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Awhile back I had a LEO in the ER with a K-9 bite, I didn't get details, but he said it was more common than you might think.
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Old 05-13-2019, 04:27 PM
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Well, at least shooting dogs is something that are actually really good at.
Does seem to be a problem some places, but usually a separate issue from whether the police's own dogs are well enough trained. Not always separate though since at least some of these incidents happen when 'civilian' dogs attack K9's (which are, from the 'civilian' dog POV, simply strange dogs invading their territory), then police protect the K9 by shooting the other dog.

Nothing like that has happened where I live that I've heard of. But I can recall K9's on our local police force not well enough trained at least to ignore my (late) dog, which seems to me they should be (though no expert on training dogs). They would try to intimidate her with growling etc. which just set off her hyper-aggression (a rescue from a fighting breeder, genuine bad ass to other dogs, though a cream puff to people). Nothing bad happened with both dogs on leash, but if either were off leash it could have resulted in a dead K9 or my dog getting shot.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by pool View Post
I've always seen in tv shows and real life people say not to touch or try to play with seeing eyes dogs and such because they are highly trained or something and it could potentially mess with their training(?). I never knew if that was really true or not.
The issue is that if the dog is working, it's not petting time; this applies to any kind of working dog or for that matter working animal. Most people wouldn't try to hug random working people but see no problem with trying to pet a working dog or horse. Work time <> petting time.

Petting that same dog when it's off-duty is not any more of a problem than for any other dog.
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Last edited by Nava; 05-14-2019 at 08:29 AM.
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