I was talking to some of the LEO's at our training grounds, and the Sheriffs department struck up a good question. It plots officer safety vs. Insurance/General liability.
The scenario was based as follows: An officer sends a dog into a building, (off leash, or leash drag), k9 finds the suspect, suspect is proned on the ground presenting no threat / challenge / conflict. Is it better to have the dog apprehend the suspect, by means of a hold with significant pressure (bite)? Or to bark and hold for the officer to arrive?
There was alot of talk about different factors, but the main question remains, should a police dog be trained in a bark and hold.
Obviously this has alot to do with officer safety, and k9 safety, as criminals are very unpredicatble, and could easily injure a K9, or handler. The school that I participate at (decoy & handler) does not teach a Bark and hold, and with the owners expertise and expirence as a dog trainer in PP, sport, LE, and Military, I can see why his point is justified. What do you guys think? Ed, your opinion is highly valued, as Bob Gailey asked what you may think about a Bark and Hold regarding LE policy for criminal apprehension.
First and foremost, it's an officer safety issue. It's why I train find and bite. Just to be clear, using your scenario, the announcement would have been made. The suspect would have been given an opportunity to surrender. The suspect would have been informed the dog would bite. That said, the dog is sent in, OFF LEASH. Why give the bad guy any more of a hand hold (dragging leash) than necessary. When the dog encounters the suspect (your scenario) he will engage and remain engaged until commanded to do something different.
You will find there is some disagreement among law enforcment agencies/trainers relative the f/b v. b/h. Personally, I think there are two distinct reasons some departments embrace the b/h. 1. Political correctness at the expense of officer safety
2. Intrusion of sport into the police service dog.
If the trainers are being honest, they know and would admit, there are more "unintentional" dog bites with a strictly b/h program that there are with a f/b program. Bad guys don't react the way trained decoys react. Dogs know that and react accordingly. Even after saying what I've said, reason number 1 is enough for me. In programs that embrace the b/h, off the record discussions with the handlers are quite revealing. In my experience, 95% of those handlers would prefer f/b. F/B is still the preferred method of training as far as number of programs. IACP is not always the best friend of Law Enforcement.
Out of curiosity, what does the department you were referring to practice?
Let me add before someone has to point it out. Yes, I'm old. Yes I'm set in my ways. No, I'm not opposed to change. Just show me the change is better for a program and not my resume. I figure at some point that will come up.
Any behavior that is reinforced is more likely to occur again.
I train alongside, and with numerious LE agencies across Central Florida at Bob Gailey's. Both my partner and I are decoys for various Private and Government agencies. As to which department depends on who is in class, or up for certification. Or whomever shows up to train. Furthermore, I myself am not LE, I own a Private Security agency in Central Florida, but as the red headed step child of criminal justice (security). We do see alot of the same situatiouns, scenarios's etc.
In regards to the scenario:
I forgot to include that there would be an obvious announcment, and that would explain the reaction of the badguy (proned out and complacent) once he realized the dog has in fact entered into the building, and no ones bluffing. I understand, and agree with your view. Government, no matter what level is overly sensitive IMO of the needs, and safety of the criminal. More so than the victim or officer(s). Agencies are highly liability consence, and they should be, but to what extent. When is it fair to have a policy that clearly puts an officer and his dog in a situation that could have / will have a negative outcome. Obviously if a F/B was applied 100%, then you would never have an accidental bite. But like I said, sometimes policy over shadows safety, and it isn't right.
Both my partner and I are decoys for various Private and Government agencies. As to which department depends on who is in class, or up for certification.
One point and a question. My point -- you stated you're a decoy, so I'm assuming trained as a decoy. You inferred you decoy for different departments and for certification. In my post, I mentioned, suspects are generally not trained decoys.
My question, the departments you train with or decoy for -- are they b/h or f/b or a mixture.
Any behavior that is reinforced is more likely to occur again.
They are F/B, but the discussion came up become some of the other local agencies are adopting a Bark and hold approach, while others have abandoned it. The guys I am around, decoy for, and associate myself with are anti bark and hold for police work. Alot of these guys are former sport handlers / trainers as well. To make it clear, Im not a certified decoy by no means, Im the guy they chew on prior to certification. I am not certified, but able to follow directions and learned.
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