Lawsuit Challenges Reliability of Police Dogs, Says Handlers Influence Them


In 2010, University of California, Davis researchers set out to test the reliability of drug- and bomb-sniffing dogs, says the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The team assembled 18 police dogs and their handlers and had them go through a room and sniff out the drugs and explosives. The room was clean. No drugs, no explosives. The teams failed the test 85 percent of the time, leading researchers to concluded that they were influenced by their handlers.

Two Nevada Highway Patrol K-9 troopers and a consultant have sued, charging that the Metropolitan Police Department’s police dogs and the state patrol’s own dogs were “trick ponies” that responded to their handlers’ cues, and therefore routinely violated citizens’ rights to lawful search under the Fourth Amendment. The lawsuit goes makes other accusations in its 104-page complaint: that the Metropolitan Police Department is a racketeering organization, that money seized by motorists was misappropriated by the Department of Public Safety, that their agency subjected the two troopers to harassment and intimidation.

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