Police officers and K-9 experts say police dogs are important law enforcement partners with a solid record of public service.
However, the attacks in St. Paul has thrust the city into a larger, nationwide debate about the appropriate role of K-9 police and how well the animal’s instincts are curbed. There is still the question of who is responsible for being bitten by a police dog, and whether in some cases the dog needs to bite.
K-9 units are deployed in the Twin Cities on demand from thefts, drug searches to pursuits where handlers say dogs can help keep officers safe. surname. Experienced dog handlers in law enforcement say that a dog can be deployed in a similar way to a baton or a stun gun.
“Properly trained dogs are like a K-9 handler in South Florida,” says Charles Mesloh, a professor of criminal justice at Northern Michigan University, in Marquette, who has been a K-9 handler in South Florida for 10 years. switches, you turn them on and off.
“I’m a runner and I can’t run as fast as a dog,” he said. “A well-trained police dog will be able to take that person down no matter how tough they are.”
David Ferland is currently the executive director at the American Police Dog Association, the nation’s oldest and largest K-9 association and where St. Paul and Minneapolis receive annual certifications for their dogs.
“It was just a mistake. It was just a mistake, like driving a police car causing an accident,” Ferland said of the police dog biting a person who did nothing wrong. “Handling a dog is like driving a police car, no different than pepper spray.”
Others argue that the training and control of the dogs is not exactly as it is portrayed.
“From what I’ve seen talking to experts and police in these cases is that these types of K-9 officers won’t be able to tell the good guys from the bad guys,” Noel said. “It’s not just part of the deal.”
Noel represents Frank Baker of St. Paul, who was severely injured in 2016 after being clamped in the leg by a K-9. A police officer also kicked Baker in the side, leaving the man hospitalized for two weeks.
In that case, the police who responded to a call about a fight didn’t find Baker but found Baker in a nearby SUV. The officer released his police dog on Baker because the man was not quick to obey his orders.
Sheriff Todd Axtell apologized to Baker, who last year reached a $2 million settlement, the largest settlement in city history.
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