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Leerburg Articles Police K9 - Patrol Dogs RCMP Narcotic Searches Certification

RCMP Narcotic Searches Certification


1. Dog Handlers working with Police Service Dogs search buildings, outdoors, and vehicles for narcotics.

2. These sessions will prepare the student team to search successfully for narcotics. It will also prepare the student team to operate efficiently under field conditions. The instructor should refer to outdoor searches, topic page and include narcotic searches in the simulations during Level III.

Candidate teams that are to be transferred to a position that specializes in the narcotic profile receive extended training similar to that received by teams in the explosive profile. Following training the abilities of narcotic specialist teams are monitored and improved upon through the following: (1) six-month follow up, (2) inservice narcotic training, and (3) annual field validations.

The lecture with developmental discussion and demonstration/performance methods of instruction will be used and will cover:

(a) Degrees of difficulty

uninhabited premise
little or no distractions
no human scent contamination of area
Drug hide placed max. of 1/2 metre above floor
Drug hide placed in partially open drawer
Drug hide laying in the open outdoors
Drug hide placed in open container

unoccupied premise
drug hide placed max. 2 metres above floor
human scent contamination of area
packaging - concealed but not air tight
distractions - people in the area
closed drawers

occupied premise with distractions (pets - food-people-kitty litter-garbage etc.)
drug wrapped and packaged in air tight container
no residual drug scent
drug disguised with other scent i.e. perfume
drug hide very high from floor level
drug hide very well concealed

3. (b) Pattern

hasty search
systematic search
likely concealment areas searched first

(c) Equipment

collar (nylon)
leash - 2 metres
training aids

(d) Handling of training aids

using disposable gloves or tongs
not storing soft and hard drugs together
residual odours
contamination by dog
contamination with human scent
rotating supply
variety of package material
recording of hides
narcan kit (drug antidote)

(e) Inducements

by the "hide and seek"
dogs natural instinct and retrieving desire
by voice
enthusiasm body language
time element between finds

(f) Communication

commands ("SEARCH POT" "BACK") leash work

(g) Reading the dog

of dog's indication
misinterpreting dog's interest for indication observing the dog (fatigue)
resting the dog when his interest wanes

3. (h) Progression

known drug hides at first
conditioning period
advancing in degrees of difficulty
objective #1 being met before progressing to objective #2

(i) Common problems/corrections

progressing too fast with degrees of difficult
improper patterning
improper use of equipment
poor timing
too much/too little praise
too much time spent with reward
not genuine/enthusiastic
poor voice tones
improper inflection
too much talking to the dog leading to false
missing indications
not observing the dog
not properly reading the dog
handler looking himself
not trusting in dog's ability
dog lacking interest
animal scent
garbage, etc.
noise in general

(j) "Sit" confirmation and reward

dog indicating narcotics
dog pursuing to scent source
dog given "sit" command, enforcing if necessary
ensuring full sit
quickly rewarding the dog and praising
always using same reward article
allowing the dog to see with his "nose" only

(k) Vehicle Searches

Pattern diagram of vehicle
using air currents
air conditioning system
heater fan
likely areas of concealment

3. (K) Vehicle Searches (contd.)

Safety of the dog
engine turned off
hot engine
exhaust pipes
ingestion of narcotics

(l) Specialist - Narcotic Profile

enhanced training
ongoing training
six-month follow up
in-service training
field validations

4. At the end of Level II, each candidate will be able to:

(A) Working with the P.S. dog off/on leash, search an occupied building (approximately 130 meters square) and locate, in 20 minutes, soft drugs (marijuana, hashish, hash oil). The search will include:

(1) Four drug hides of medium difficulty

(2) Hides a maximum of 1 1/2 meters above floor

At the end of Level III, each candidate will be able to:

(B) Working with the P.S. dog off/on leash, search an occupied building (approximately 130 meters square) and locate, in 20 minutes, hard drugs (heroin, cocaine). The search will include:

(1) Four drug hides of medium difficulty

(2) Hides a maximum of 1 1/2 meters above floor level

(C) Working with the P.S. dog off leash (interior) and on leash (exterior), search a standard size passenger vehicle and locate, in 10 minutes, narcotics. The search will include:

(1) Narcotic concealed inside vehicle

(2) Proper search pattern

(3) Proper use of air conditioning or heater fan

5. Cross References:

Outdoor Searches
Vehicles Searches
Continued Training
Admin. and Ops. (Security of Training Aids)

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