Omaha Drug Charges Lawyer: How Drug-Sniffing Dogs are Trained

Omaha drug charges lawyer Daniel Stockmann often handles cases in which a drug sniffing dog was utilized during the arrest. Police canines are quite common in Nebraska. They’re utilized by the Omaha Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, and by Nebraska State Patrol. Overall, the animals do a tremendous amount of good and have repeatedly served their handlers well. The State Patrol boasts that their K9 units were responsible for more than 245 arrests and the confiscation of $6,846,150 in drugs during 2015 alone. Omaha doesn’t give exact stats for last year, but the police department website mentions that their canines have helped them collect more than $31 million in drugs since 1996. Despite these successes, the animals are not infallible and the none of the agencies mention much, if anything, about how they are trained.

K9s are Chosen Based on Lineage and Demeanor

Most, but not all, police dogs are descendants of other canines used by law enforcement. The vast majority of those used throughout Nebraska hail from Europe or have European lineage, which is why it’s common for one to follow commands in a foreign language. Puppies are tested repeatedly to see if they’re fit for service, with formal placement and training usually starting when the dog is around three-years-old. The initial trainers work with the dogs to instill obedience and command response and the partially-trained pups usually make their way to law enforcement agencies for around $9,000.

Police Dogs May Undergo Various Forms of Training

It takes a lot of training for an animal to get up to speed, with costs exceeding $10,000.. There are various tasks one might need to be able to perform, such as tracking a suspect or missing person. Narcotics and explosives detection also rank high on the list, as does defending the handler, or officer in charge of the dog. There is no standardized training of the animals. Each agency and trainer may use different techniques to coax the dog into following instructions. One of the most common techniques is to scent the dog’s toy like a particular drug or chemical to teach it to associate the toy with the scent that it will later be responsible for finding. In training, it’s much like a game, where the dog will repeatedly search for its scented toy and be rewarded for discovering it.

Training is Ongoing for Many Working Dogs

The K9s live with their officer handlers and the two often go through additional training together. A newscast by KMTV 3 unknowingly hit on one of the weaker points of police dog capabilities. While covering one of the extra sessions animals might go through, they pointed out that the dogs don’t always know how to “indicate” the presence of drugs. They’re generally taught to sit, though this isn’t possible when a substance is found in the undercarriage of a vehicle. In these cases, the dog must be taught to lay down or back out and sit as well. Even in the example video that the news station showed, the dog incorrectly indicated the presence of drugs after jumping up and sniffing the tailgate of an SUV. Later, the dog accurately pinpointed there were drugs under the vehicle, put this imprecise indicating can lead to a lot of problems in the field. Dogs have been known to inaccurately indicate and handlers sometimes misinterpret indications or even inadvertently encourage a false indication.

Omaha Drug Charges Lawyer

If you or a loved one is facing charges for an illegal substance, calling out the improper training or use of a K9 could be a possible defense. However, you’ll need an experienced Omaha drug charges lawyer to evaluate your case and determine which strategy is best in your situation. Daniel Stockmann has been methodically providing his clients with results for nearly two decades. For a no-obligation consultation with Mr. Stockmann, call (844) 545-3022 today.