Provide K9 teams with the entire less lethal tool kit
Submitted by Deputy Phil Jones
Washoe County Sheriff's Office, Nevada
In a perfect world, every cop would have the right tool with him, at the right time. He or she would arrive at every call with every line of the force matrix — from presence to a .50 cal. Now wake up... As we take on the new law enforcement challenges of 2012 — budgets cuts, training cuts, equipment cuts — we will have to get the most out of what we own.
My Department is like many others with 300 to 400 officers. We have TASERs, impact weapons, distraction devices, and chemical weapons, along with K9s. The key is getting these tools to where and when you need them, and in the hands of someone trained to deploy them properly. When it comes to less lethal, we tried to spread out what we own. This works excellent in the detention environment, not so well in patrol. We had to look at getting the specialty weapons, the ones that every Deputy doesn’t have issued, in the hands of a trained operator.
No doubt, the use of all of these systems is a 4th amendment seizure, and will be scrutinized in court and in the press. You must choose mature, well-trained Deputies to deploy special tools. One of the groups we have chosen are the Deputies that are best trained in 4th amendment seizures... our K9 Teams.
Most properly-trained K9 Teams, spend a good amount of time keeping up with case law relative to the Deployment of their K9. A lot of pre thought and after action is covered with a K9 deployment, much like a less lethal incident. Most situations in modern law enforcement, where you would deploy a K9, less lethal is brought as an option. This is especially true with suicidal-subject / barricaded-suspect situations, where most SWAT teams are no longer called.
TASERs, impacts weapons, distraction devices, rifle ballistic shields, and/or others may be used by patrol. It makes it much easier for your on-scene command to turn and see the K9 unit arrive, and he immediately knows he has all those options in one vehicle. Most agencies try to keep K9 teams available, to act as a force multiplier for critical incident calls. Why not train them up as your primary less lethal people? Its works for us and your Supervisor will be happy to see the K9 arrive.
About Deputy P. Jones
Deputy Jones is a member of the Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team in Reno Nevada. He is a Master Taser Instructor, NTOA Less Lethal Instructor, Range Master. He currently assigned to Patrol/K9/SWAT.