The heartbreak of a family dog’s death in a police shooting can be avoided while keeping officers safe according to a recent Associated Press story [1] and video [2]. 

Police and Dog Encounters: Tactical Strategies and Effective Tools to Keep our Communities Safe and Humane is a new five-video series prepares law enforcement officers for interactions with dogs in the line of duty. Police and Dog Encounters is about staying safe. It gives officers hands-on skills and information to protect themselves, the residents nearby, and the dogs they encounter in the line of duty.

The videos teach officers to recognize the signs a dog may be present, how to avoid unnecessary encounters with dogs, and how to distinguish between warning signals and signs of friendliness when they must enter a dog’s space. Dogs are increasingly viewed as family members, so that shootings provoke strong responses in the communities, resulting in increased liability and bad press for law enforcement agencies. Los Angeles County Deputies have responded to one such case by making the videos, which can be viewed in 10 minute segments during briefings, required training for their officers.

Brian Kilcommons, the dog behavior and training expert featured in the video series, said in the Associated Press feature, “There are ways for officers to avoid using guns, including putting an object like a trash can between them and the dog, carrying food that can be thrown as a distraction, blaring an air horn, or using pepper spray.”

As not every police and sheriff’s department can afford the resources needed to effectively train their officers for successful encounters with dogs, Police and Dog Encounters can help bridge this gap. Through proper training, law enforcement officers can be prepared for safe, non-confrontational outcomes. In addition, with training in effective responses to genuinely volatile situations, officers can effectively avoid the worst-case scenarios—being injured by a dog or shooting one.

The series was funded and developed by National Canine Research Council, in partnership with Safe Humane Chicago and the United States Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Each of the videos is approximately 10 minutes long and can be viewed for free online: http://cops.igpa.uillinois.edu/resources/police-dog-encounters

Read more on the videos on the NCRC website: 

 

Sources and Notes:


[1]  Manning, S. (2014, June 4). Videos look to help police curb dog shootings. AP. Retrieved from: http://www.bigstory.ap.org/article/videos-look-help-police-curb-dog-shootings

[2] AP. (2014, June 4). Training aims to reduce police shooting dogs [Video file]. Retrieved from: http://on.aol.com/video/training-aims-to-reduce-police-shooting-dogs-518255186?playlist=154159&hp=1