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Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS)

Original Author: Barton, Rex
Date of Material: 01/10/2002

Police--Canine programs

Canine Team Policy

Reviewed Date: 05/18/2021
The purpose of this policy is to establish the mission of the canine team, establish procedures for the use of the canine team, and outline the responsibilities of the canine handler.



The Police Department will implement and maintain a canine team consisting of a certified canine handler and a trained and certified narcotics dog


The purpose of this policy is to establish the mission of the canine team, establish procedures for the use of the canine team, and outline the responsibilities of the canine handler.

I. Mission

The mission of the canine team is the same as that of the department: prevention of crime, protection of life and property, and apprehension of criminals, but by using the means peculiar to the trained police dog.

A. The canine team will work in a cooperative effort with other officers by:

1. Responding to requests for the assistance of the drug dog by other officers.

2. Proceeding to every feasible traffic stop initiated by other officers to allow the dog to search the area around the stopped vehicle. If the dog alerts on the vehicle, probable cause to search the vehicle can be established.

3. Conducting searches for narcotics during the execution of search warrants.

4. If the police dog is trained as a tracker, the dog will respond to requests for tracking people.

B. The canine team will conduct self-initiated patrol activity to include:

1. In cooperation with the administration of all area schools, patrol the parking lots and interior areas all local schools.

2. Patrol specific areas of the city as directed by the Chief of Police.
II. Procedures

A. While on-duty, the Canine Team will respond to radio requests for assistance. Requests for assistance by outside agencies will be honored when feasible:

1. Availability of the Canine Team for operations outside the City will be secondary to requests for assistance made by members of the Police Department.

2. The canine handler will notify the Chief of Police of any Mutual Aid requests prior to proceeding outside the City.

B. While off-duty the Canine Team will respond to requests for service made by the on-duty supervisor or a member of the detective division. Off-duty Mutual Aid requests will be approved by the Chief of Police.

C. When the Canine Team is to be utilized the following procedures will apply:

1. The area or building to be searched should be cleared of people and/or animals prior to the Canine Team's arrival with as minimal disturbance to the scene as possible.

2. Officers should not do a visual or physical search of the area prior to the arrival of the Canine Team.

3. Contraband in plain sight that could be dangerous to the dog should be removed. It should be shown to the handler, and the handler should be shown the original location of the contraband. Should the dog false alert on the original location, the handler would be aware.

4. The senior officer or detective will be in charge at any scene. Should the handler feel that using the dog would not be productive, the senior officer will make the final decision about using the dog.

5. When the handler feels that the officer's or the dog's safety, or the dog's training would be compromised by continuing an operation, the handler's decision is final.

D. Reporting

1. Arrests made or evidence located as the result of a request for Canine Team assistance will be considered to have been accomplished by the requesting officer.

a. The requesting officer will be responsible for all incident and arrest reports.

b. The canine handler will be responsible for completing a supplemental report, documenting actions taken by the Canine Team.

2. The Canine Team handler will be responsible for all reports for any self-initiated activity.

III. Handler Responsibilities

A. The Canine handler shall be responsible for the grooming, feeding, and medical care of his assigned dog on a daily basis. The Canine handler will be allowed thirty (30) minutes each day for the grooming, feeding and minor medical care of the dog. Should a major medical issue arise, the handler will immediately notify the police chief. Time spent at a veterinary clinic or dealing with a major medical issue, including transportation to and from the clinic, will be submitted as additional time worked. Time spent administering medication, changing dressings or other minor medical related tasks will be considered part of the thirty (30) minutes daily compensation.

B. The police department will furnish food and veterinary care for the dog.

C. The Canine handler shall use the veterinarian specified by the department and shall file a complete report whenever medical care is needed for the dog, including annual examinations.

D. The Department will authorize boarding of the dog, if necessary, during the Canine handler's vacation or during any prolonged absence.

E. The handler is responsible for all canine equipment and training aids. All training aids shall be kept in a secure area at the police department or locked in the trunk of the canine police unit.

F. The Canine handler will prepare weekly reports indicating time spent training, working requests for assistance, or self-initiated patrol functions.

IV. Officer Responsibilities

A. No police officer will shall be permitted to tease or antagonize the dog.

B. Members of the department, other than the designated handler, shall not command or attempt to command the dog.

C. No member of the department shall offer food or any substance to the dog, except the handler.

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