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Leerburg Articles Examples of K-9 Policies & Procedures Medium Department K9 Policy & Procedure

Medium Department K9 Policy & Procedure

Medium Department

K9 Policy & Procedure

Standard Operating Procedures
Canine Unit, Field Services Division
Revised October 1998


To establish procedures and regulations governing the, training, use and administration of police service dog teams employed by the Dunn County Sheriffs Department. These teams will be referred to throughout this manual as "K9" teams. This Standard Operating Procedure shall define the authority and responsibility for their use.


A. Utilization of properly trained police service, dogs represent a highly cost effective and reliable asset to law enforcement personnel,. by utilizing the canine's acute olfactory and hearing senses. The police service dog also provides a psychological deterrent by their presence at the scene of potentially conflict or disturbance.

B. Areas of potential deployment for K9 teams may include, but are not limited to:


A. The K9 Sgt. is responsible for the general supervision of those K9 teams assigned to support patrol functions within the Department.

B. A supervisor at the rank of Sergeant will be assigned as the K9 Unit supervisor and shall assume the responsibility of supervising and administering the day-to-day operations of the K9 Unit. The K9 Unit supervisor will report to the Sheriff, or his/her absence, the Under Sheriff.

C. The K-9 Unit supervisor shall be responsible for the following.

  1. General supervision of the K9 teams when on-duty and available
  2. Appointing and maintaining a dedicated and accredited trainer for the K9 teams - a letter will be kept on file signed by the sheriff concerning this individual being the departmental K9 trainer
  3. Review and inspection, bi-annually, of all K9 team training records and deployment records
  4. Inspection of all issued K9 equipment on a regular basis
  5. Ordering of all food rations, canine specific equipment and medical care as needed
  6. Coordinating all community relations demonstrations
  7. Assisting in the training of other Law Enforcement Agency's K-9 Units with the approval of the Sheriff
  8. Approval and coordination with other Law Enforcement Agency's their requests for assistance using this agency's K9 Unit
  9. Coordination and assignment of K9 teams in support of other department's S.W.A.T team
  10. Monthly report to the sheriff of the K9 unit activity for the past month.

D. In the absence of the on-duty K9 Unit supervisor, and when not assigned to a specific detail, K9 teams shall operate under the supervision of the on-duty Sgt. , or in his/her absence, the on-duty supervisor for the area where they are assigned.

E. The individual K9 handler may authorize the use of their assigned canine for the apprehension of a suspect(s). It shall be the responsibility of each handler to ensure that practical safety precautions are taken at the time of deployment including a briefing to other law enforcement personnel, explaining the canine's abilities and limitation.

F. In circumstances where the use of a K9 team is being considered, the final decision to deploy a K9 shall rest with the individual K9 handler, as only the handler truly knows the abilities and limitations of their canine and their ability to safely and legally perform the task at hand.

G. Once the K9 handler has made the decision to deploy his patrol dog, the K9 handler shall assume the responsibility for the control and operational management of the scene until they are properly relieved by a supervisor. The perimeter and back up officers will redeploy to new positions according to directions from the K9 handler during a k9 deployment.


A. Building and Area Searches

Canines can be effectively used to search areas and buildings for hidden suspects that might be detected by scent or sound. Canines can also be utilized to search open areas for, suspects or evidence /articles that a suspect may have discarded.

When a suspect has fled the scene of a crime and a canine is en route, member should not pursue unless a reasonable chance of success exists. If the pursuing personnel lose sight of the offender, the pursuit should be immediately terminated, a perimeter secured and held for the K9 team's arrival. Personnel involved in the initial pursuit should note the last direction of travel, obstacles or hiding places, and other potential hazards so that they may brief the K9 team upon arrival.

The initial responding unit involved in the pursuit, the on-scene supervisor or senior deputy present should determine if the crime is significant enough to warrant a K9 team call-out or response. It shall be the responsibility of this individual to initiate the call-out/response in a timely manner and ensure that appropriate perimeter control is established and maintained.

Prior to starting any search of a building by a K9 team, a series of verbal warning and commands shall be made by the handler, if practical and safe to do so. A suggested warning is as follows:

"This is the Sheriff's Department Canine Unit. Anyone inside the building, announce yourself now and surrender or a police dog will be used to find you."

This warning may be modified to suit the situation by the handler and only, serves as a sample of an appropriate warning. The handler may choose to have this or other warnings issued via public address systems or by other deputies as necessary or practical.

If, after a reasonable amount of time passes and no response is heard or no person(s) Surrender themselves, the handler may release the canine into the building to begin the search, the handler may choose to conduct the search on-lead or off, as appropriate to the situation.

Prior to starting any search of a building or open area, the handler will determine if additional personnel are to enter the area with the K9 team. When ever possible other K9 Unit personnel should be used to back up and assist in the search, if this is not practical any law enforcement officer may be used provided that the handler brief the personnel in the procedures of K9 searches and apprehension.

The primary duty of personnel supporting the K9 team in a search shall be the protection of handler and to take custody of any person located by tile canine, at the direction of the handler.

B. Tracking / Trailing of Criminal Suspects and Lost Persons

Ground scent tracking and wind scent trailing can be useful for following fleeing suspects or lost individuals when the presence of other persons, vehicles or extreme weather conditions do not impair the scent. Personnel requesting the assistance of a K9 team to assist in this type, of search should secure an appropriate perimeter to avoid contamination of the scent trail.

If a bloodhound is used to track or trail any suspect that can be considered dangerous (including but not limited to all felony suspects), a patrol dog should always be used to back up the bloodhound. If a patrol dog is not on the scene the bloodhound should wait for one to arrive or get authorization from the K9 supervisor to begin the track without the aide of a patrol dog. Non-K9 Sgts are not authorized to deploy a bloodhound without a patrol dog to assist as backup.

C. Crowd Control and Civil Disturbances

In the case of civil disturbances, labor disputes or other types of non-routine crowd control, the K9 Unit will not be deployed unless specifically authorized by the K9 Sgt. or higher command authority. "Routine" crowd control situations such as large fights and similar situations shall be individually assessed by the handler as to the appropriateness of using the canine.

When practical, while deploying the canine in a large crowd control situation, the handler shall wear appropriate tactical/safety equipment, to include but not be limited to a tactical vest. Kevlar helmet and gloves.

D. Pursuit and Apprehension

Pursuit and apprehension of fleeing suspects makes use of the canine's speed and maneuverability to effect a capture without the use of deadly force. K9 pursuits and apprehensions shall be conducted at the handler's discretion. Assisting personnel shall allow the K9 team primary access to the area and path of flight, prior to conducting any search if practical.

E. Tactical/ S.W.A.T Deployments

The use of K9 teams to support tactical operation and S.W.A.T operations must be reviewed and approved by the K9 Unit supervisor, or higher authority.

K9 Unit personnel shall be consulted prior to deployment as to the appropriateness of using the canine and the best method of using the K9 team(s).

All K9 Unit personnel involved in tactical / S.W.A.T deployments shall wear all issued tactical equipment for the duration of the deployment.

Out of County tactical deployment's shall be reviewed and approved by the K9 Unit supervisor, or supervisor on duty prior to deployment. The Sheriff shall be notified of such operations and may suspend such operations.

F. General Search Guidelines

Searches may be conducted on or off leash at the discretion of the handler. The handler must be able to maintain control of their assigned canine for the duration of the search.


A. Types of Controlled Substances

Handler's equipped with certified narcotics canine's are prepared to assist in the detection of the following controlled substances:

B. Areas of Deployment

Narcotics detector canines may deployed in the following situations:

C. Possessing Controlled Substance for Training.

It shall be the policy of the K9 unit that no deputy shall posses controlled substances for training purposes, with the following exceptions.

That the deputy possesses a valid Drug Enforcement Agency permit and Wisconsin Controlled Substances Permit to keep and store controlled substances, or...

That the controlled Substances have been seized by a Bona Fide law enforcement agency and are legally possessed and made available for the purposes of training by that agency.

All other narcotics related training shall be conducted using scented articles provided by a person possessing a valid D.E.A permit, and through the use of pseudo narcotics. Any handler may posses and use pseudo narcotics.

VI. General Operational Procedures

On duty K9 teams shall respond to in progress crimes within the County without specific dispatch and shall assist Field Services Units in any potentially violent situation where the use of a canine may be of service. K9 deputies, thus allowing the primary units the forewarning to establish perimeter control and other operational planning / tactics.

As a general rule, when dispatch is made aware of a developing incident that a K9 may be used (ie. foot pursuit, vehicle pursuit, robbery, lost children etc.) the dispatcher will contact the K9 Sgt. as soon as possible and put K9 members on stand by for possible call out.

As a general rule, K9 teams shall not respond as a primary unit the responsibility of completing routine reports or to address non-priority calls for service. k9 teams should advise communications center personnel if they are dispatched inappropriately.

K9 teams must advise radio and the appropriate shift supervisors when they are initially in-service and available for calls.

K9 teams shall assist any law enforcement agency operating within the confines of Dunn County with canine services either as a "self-dispatched deployment" or at the request of the other agency. It shall not be necessary to obtain the authorization of the K9 unit supervisor to assist these agency's when the K9 team is on duty and available for calls.

K9 teams can respond to the area of any foot or vehicle pursuits to assist in apprehension search or other deployment. K9 teams involved in a vehicle pursuit shall attempt to engage any fleeing suspect using the canine prior to engaging in a foot pursuit or other potentially dangerous contacts with a suspect.


A. If an apprehension involves a dog bite the following procedure shall be followed:

The injured person shall be afforded medical care as soon as possible.

The on-duty supervisor and the K9 Unit supervisor shall be notified. A copy of the report documenting the bite shall be complete by the end of the following day and forwarded to staff review. Copies of the report shall be immediately forwarded to the following personnel:

The canine involved in the bite shall be taken to the contract veterinarian for an examination within 10 days of the bite. A copy of the medical certificate cleaning the dog shall be forwarded to the sheriff's department, the original shall be placed in the dog's medical file.

Photographs shall be taken if possible, of the bite by a department field investigator, preferably the field investigator assigned to the K9 unit. All photographs shall be taken following cleaning of the wound area so that the photographs accurately reflect the extent of injury in a non-prejudicial manner. Copies of the photos and the negatives shall be held in evidence.


A. All K9 Unit personnel shall be required to certify his or her K9 by the department K9 trainer and the K9 Sgt. before it is authorized to be deployed for active duty. The K9 trainer and K9 Sgt. can limit the scope under which a dog will be deployed.

B. All K9 Unit personnel shall attend weekly maintenance training with their assigned canine.

C. All K9 handlers shall maintain training files on their dogs use preapproved training forms. These files shall be submitted on a bi-annual basis for inclusion in the dog's permanent file and for audit and review purposes.

D. Monthly K9 activity reports shall submitted to the sheriff by the K9 Sgt.

E. K9 Unit training reports, field deployment and narcotics reports will not be removed from the permanent files without the specific permission of the K9 Unit supervisor. These records are the property of the department and not the individual deputy.


A. Any certified deputy meeting or exceeding the posted requirement may apply for a position vacancy in the K9 Unit. The sheriff, or his designee, shall post the requirements for the position as per established procedure. The testing process for K9 Unit applicants shall minimally include a written essay, oral board examination and physical agility test.

B. The handler(s) assigned to the K9 Unit shall obtain dog food and other contracted supplies from the department designated vendor only.

C. The handler is responsible for ensuring that their canine is maintained in a healthy environment. This includes proper feeding and routine physical inspections.

The handler is responsible for ensuring that their canine receives prompt medical care from either the contract veterinarian or contract emergency veterinarian services. the handler is responsible for filing all medical records and receipts in their canine's medical records file.

D. The handler will ensure that no unauthorized people tease or otherwise harass their canine or other department canines, unless specifically directed to do so in a training environment.

E. The handler will ensure than nobody pets or attempts to pet a department canine without the specific permission of the dog's handlers.

F. Unauthorized exhibitions of the dog's apprehension and engagement abilities are forbidden.

G. Handler's will ensure that law enforcement personnel working in the immediate proximity of the police service canine shall heed all directions given by the handler and that their actions will not compromise the safety of the handler or the deployment mission. The handler may stop and cancel the deployment at anytime if they notice a significant safety or tactical violation. These cancellations and the causes shall be immediately reported to the K9 Unit supervisor.

H. It is the prerogative the individual K9 handler to use a Tri Tronics collar during normal training, certification and deployment.


A. All members of the K9 Unit shall be permitted to wear the optional uniform as described below;

Black B.D.U. type shirt and pants or comparable one-piece suit. The shirt shall be marked with should patches as defined in the Department Standard Operating Procedures Manual with a cloth representation of the department badge above the left breast pocket and a cloth representation of the name plate above the right breast pocket. No specialty patches e.g. SWAT, FTO etc, shall be worn with the exception of the approved K9 Unit patch.

The shirt will be tucked into the pants at all times. The bottoms of the pants may be either cleanly pressed or bloused as per individual.

The sleeves of the uniform shirt may be either long or short sleeved: long sleeves any be rolled up using a military style 3 inch. cutoff, as long as the cuff does not obstruct the shoulder patch.

B. Unit polo shirt. A unit authorized polo shirt consisting of a white golf type shirt with a approved, embroidered insignia on the upper left breast may be worn to certain functions as approved by the K9 Unit supervisor. When wearing the shirt, it shall be tucked into the trousers.

D. Headgear. The following headgear is approved for wear by the members of the K9 unit;

E. Call out Uniform. A handler may elect to wear a department approved "Raid Jacker" or similar jacket or windbreaker when called out to a deployment during off-duty hours. The exception to this are call- outs for tactical/ S.W.A.T. deployments where the B.D.U. uniform shall be worn.

F. Leather Gear. The handler may elect to wear a nylon type duty belt and associated gear in lieu of the regulation leather gear.

G. Each K9 handler will be issued the following equipment and will be responsible for the care and maintenance of this equipment;

All K9 Unit equipment shall be returned when the handler leaves the service of the K9 Unit.

H. Load Bearing Equipment. A military style bearing harness and belt assembly may be worn by handlers to provide for additional storage of equipment and availability of drinking water on extended deployments

I. Inclimate Weather Clothing.. It shall be the responsibility of the individual K9 handier to dress appropriately for climatic conditions. This includes the maintenance, and use of cold weather clothing. The following types of cold weather clothing are approved for use by the K9 teams:


A. K9 Unit personnel must obtain prior approval from the K9 Sgt. for a civilian ride along. Law enforcement ride-along s, approved though the chain-of-command, shall be permitted; However, the handler shall be responsible for the conduct and safety of the ride-along and shall not permit them to assist on any deployment unless specifically authorized by the K9 Unit supervisor.

Exceptions to this may be made only with the expressed permission of the Sheriff or his designated representative


List of Department Policy & Procedures.

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