At the July 2020 virtual meeting of the Standards Review and Interpretation Committee (SRIC) the committee directed staff to post for client comments the following standard.  Please post your comments or send them to CALEA prior to Friday September 4th, 2020.

 

41.1.5 (MMMM) (LE1) POLICE SERVICE CANINES

A written directive governs all agency-owned or controlled canines, and includes the following provisions for each animal canine;

  1. authorization, conditions, and limitations and procedures for on usage;
  2. selection and pre-service training requirements for police canines;
  3. qualifications, and selection process for training for personnel assigned to control the animal police canine handler(s);
  4. initial and monthly in-service training requirements for each police canine team;
  5. requirement for an annual evaluation/certification of each police canine team;
  6. documentation requirements for all training;
  7. the process procedures for 24-hour care and maintenance for the police canine(s);
  8. a listing of all equipment required; and
  9. provisions for the collection of deployment data including defined use of force.

 

COMMENTARY:

The written directive governing agency owned or controlled police canines should include the following provisions: detailed provisions for the authorization, conditions and limitations on canine use.  Specific procedures should be established for each applicable area of canine operations, including searching for and apprehending suspects, missing person searches, narcotics/explosives detection, comfort/therapy use or any other purpose.  definition of the personnel or the position assigned to work and/or control the police dog, including the qualifications for the selection of the personal for the position assigned to work and/or control the police dog.  The directive should outline the responsibilities for the care and maintenance of the dog by the agency and the personnel assigned to the position of working and controlling the police dog on a 24-hour basis.  This should also include whether the dog is housed and cared for by the handler after duty hours or is boarded at a location other than the residence of the handler.

Agencies should review applicable case law related to compensation issues that may arise between the agency and the personnel assigned to provide care and maintenance of the police dog beyond the on-duty hours of the handler. 

Care should be given in the canine selection process to ensure the health, temperament and workability of the canine.  Other considerations should include the service(s) or various disciplines provided by the dog canine(s) and the initial training curriculum and qualifying/evaluation standards for each discipline for which the dog canine is used.

The agency should develop a comprehensive job description for the police canine handler position, which includes the minimum qualifications, knowledge, skills and abilities.  All aspects of the agency’s selection process should be included in the written directive.

All initial training requirements of both the police canine and handler should be satisfactorily met prior to the police canine team becoming officially operational.  At a minimum, monthly in-service training, developed and monitored, either in-person or remotely by a certified trainer, should also be conducted.  Training for comfort/therapy canines may vary.

Canine teams should be evaluated/certified on an annual basis, preferably by a recognized national, regional or state organization (e.g. International Police Work Dog Association, North American Police Work Dog Association, United States Police Canine Association or similar organization) to independently validate the team’s operational readiness and effectiveness.

The directive should outline the responsibilities for the care and maintenance of the police canine(s) by the agency and the personnel assigned to the position of working and controlling the police canine(s) on a 24-hour basis.  This should also include whether the canine(s) are/is housed and cared for by the handler after duty hours or is boarded at a location other than the residence of the handler.  Agencies should review applicable case law related to compensation issues that may arise between the agency and the personnel assigned to provide care and maintenance of the police canine(s) beyond the on-duty hours of the handler.  Provisions for veterinary care, both routine and emergency, should also be outlined in the directive.

If agencies utilize canines that are trained to bite, special considerations should be made.  The directive should define when a verbal announcement will be given as a warning to a person(s) that the police dog canines(s) will be used to bite.   It should also outline provisions for an exception to using the verbal announcement/warning prior to the dog canines(s) being used to search for and/or bite. An exception to announcing the canine warning must clearly state the articulable facts which reasonably denotes an element of increased risk to officer safety.  The process for recording/documenting all canine bites, including injuries to a person who has been bitten, should be outlined.  (M M M M) (LE1)

 

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