03/21/2013

Legalizing pot means re-training for drug-sniffing K-9s

Training has changed for the marijuana-sniffing K-9s of Washington state

By PoliceOne Staff

SEATTLE — Law enforcement agencies in Washington will no longer be training their drug-sniffing K-9s to alert for marijuana as a result of the passage of I-502.

The Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys sent out a memo advising the state's law-enforcement agencies that narcotics dogs are no longer required to be trained to alert for marijuana.

“Moving forward, it makes most sense not to train dogs to alert to marijuana as that would likely lead to unwarranted investigatory detentions of people who are not breaking any law," said Alison Holcomb, author of I-502 and drug policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union, according to KATU.

Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said the Seattle Police Department is already taking steps to desensitize its dogs to marijuana through rewards and constant training.

Law-enforcement agencies are still free under state law to train their narcotics dogs to alert for whatever substances they choose, according to Pam Loginsky, who wrote the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys memo.

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