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Categories: Training Police Service Dogs

Q. I was ordered to carry my long gun, and draw down, when approaching a suspect while the dog is apprehending him. Is it safer to have the long gun or unsafer in that situation?
I am a new K9 Handler on a SWAT team for my city. I was ordered to carry my long gun, and draw down, when approaching a suspect while the dog is apprehending him. We do have two other officers that do have lethal cover at the time I am approaching. Is it safer to have the long gun or unsafer in that situation?

A. I believe you already know the answer to this.

If you have two covering officers, your job is to deal with your dog not let a long gun get tangled in a mess. There are too many times when things happen and you need to be free to do what’s necessary to control you dog and a long gun is going to get in the way.

Regards,
Ed Frawley

More:

Hello,
Ed copied me into this. A little back ground, I have been working as a swat handler and swat K-9 instructor for a number of years now. I have some small instructional experience with SOC military K-9 as well. I understand that sometimes we deal with what has been "doctrine" in many areas and clearly SWAT is one where the SWAT Gods seem to have bequeathed ultimate knowledge onto a few regardless of their actual experience in an operational environment. That said, the handler of a SWAT dog in traditional US SWAT operations is generally not point. If not on point and you are assigned lethal coverage yourself (as all less lethal options operators must have at all times) then having a long gun up on the problem is tradition not function. If you are in the role as operator and have to full the spot of an operator as well as handle your dog, then you may be stuck with the long gun option. This is not an ideal frankly, but if you must be sure that you have a sling system that allows you to secure your weapon in a fashion that lets you easily handle hands on work with your dog. Practice doing so.

I for one am a fan of K-9 handling a handgun (with a second as a backup of the same model as primary). The handler should have dedicated long gun cover at all times.

Kevin Sheldahl ksheld@msn.com
  
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