The purpose of this policy is to identify how police-trained canines (K-9s) can be used effectively as a tool for law enforcement. The Michigan State University Police Department (Department) has established a police K-9 program. K-9s will be paired with officers to form a K-9 team.
It is the policy of this Department that all officers should understand that the use of K-9 teams in apprehending and maintaining an arrest constitutes the use of force as identified elsewhere in policy and procedures (OPR02: Use of Force). To that end, it is the policy of this Department that the K-9 handler must be aware that a police officer may use only the amount of force necessary to make or maintain an arrest. As a result, all circumstances known by the officer must be taken into consideration in the utilization of the K-9 for anything other than deterrent patrol.
Dual Purpose Explosive K-9
K-9s trained in the prevention and detection of crime, provide escort and protective service, conduct bomb searches, and track persons missing or involved in crime. They will also clear buildings, locate evidence, conduct area searches and apprehend suspects.
Dual Purpose Narcotics Detection K-9
K-9s trained in the prevention and detection of crime, provide escort and protective service, conduct narcotics searches, and track persons missing or involved in crime. They will also clear buildings, locate evidence, conduct area searches and apprehend suspects.
Vapor Wake K-9
Vapor Wake® detection is a method and system for detecting explosives and other illicit substances. Vapor Wake K-9s are also used as a visual deterrence and proactive prevention of any acts of terrorism using explosives. Vapor Wake working K-9s are specifically trained to detect body-worn explosives on a moving target. Vapor Wake K-9s can also be used for static explosives that may be hidden at a specific area/venue.
K-9 Unit Overview
The K-9 unit can be utilized to assist in the prevention and detection of crime, provide escort and protective service, conduct bomb searches, detect body-worn explosives on a moving target, conduct narcotics searches, track and locate persons sought by police, and perform special tasks as may be assigned.
When not actively engaged in a situation requiring the use of a K-9 unit, the K-9 officer will be assigned normal Uniform Division duties. K-9 officers will be expected to handle all calls for service.
In the event of a disagreement over the use of a K-9, the Duty Supervisor shall contact the Field Services Bureau Commander or Chief of Police (Chief) or designee, for a final decision.
Vapor Wake K-9 Utilization
Dual Purpose Explosives and Narcotics K-9 Utilization
Any police officer may request the use of a Dual Purpose K-9 at the scene of an incident through the Duty Supervisor.
The requesting officer will fully brief the K-9 officer of the situation.
The K-9 officer shall be responsible for determining whether the circumstances justify the use of a K-9 and how it is to be used.
The following situational guidelines will be in effect for the utilization of K-9s:
K-9s will not normally be used for aggressive crowd control.
The Duty Supervisor should bear in mind the deterrent capabilities of the K-9 in passive crowd control.
The Duty Supervisor may utilize the K-9 for passive crowd control at the scene of large gatherings where the potential for violence exists.
In the event a critical situation involving possible danger to life or serious property damage arises, supervisors are encouraged to utilize the K-9 to either divert or disperse the threat.
The K-9 handler will take all possible precautions to prevent a citizen being injured by a K-9, unless there is no other reasonable means available to protect life or property.
In all cases prior to a K-9 being released on a suspect, the handler will evaluate all of the following parameters:
The severity of the crime at issue
That the suspect poses an immediate threat to citizens or police officers
That the suspect is actively resisting arrest or attempting to flee.
In all cases where a K-9 is released on a suspect, K-9 personnel and the Duty Supervisor will each submit a Special Report to the Field Services Bureau Commander or designee outlining the circumstances and actions taken.
General Rules for all K-9s
K-9s will not normally be utilized in domestic or mental situations, except where a citizen’s or officer’s safety is threatened.
K-9 officers arriving at the scene of an “officer in trouble” will only release their K-9 when an officer’s safety is in danger or to assist with the arrest of an escaped prisoner or suspect.
K-9 officers will not release their K-9s on a fleeing misdemeanant involving crimes against property or misdemeanor motor vehicle code violations.
Unless specifically trained for tactical situations, Department K-9s will not be deployed into such situations, but may be used as general perimeter units.
K-9s are to be kept on leash while on the street, except on pursuit and apprehension, building searches, or area searches.
Prior to conducting a building search, the officer will attempt to determine conditions and contents of a building that may be injurious to the K-9.
K-9 exhibitions or demonstrations will be permitted only when requested through the Field Services Bureau Commander or designee.
All protection work or agitation will be done under the supervision of the K-9 Supervisor or designated K-9 trainer.
No agitation or protection work is to be done outside of training or authorized demonstrations.
No officer shall agitate any Department K-9 in any vehicle.
Each K-9 handler will be required to keep accurate and up to date records of all training received.
For K-9 teams trained in the location of narcotics:
Include a record of types of drugs used, quantities used, and a brief description of the location where drugs were hidden
Any hidden drugs that the K-9 failed to locate
For K-9 teams trained in the detection of explosives:
Include a record of types of explosives used, quantities, and a brief description of the location where explosives were hidden
Any hidden explosives that the K-9 failed to locate
Utilization of a K-9 for Another Agency
The Duty Supervisor may authorize the call out of a K-9 unit for another agency utilizing the following guidelines.
On-duty call out of K-9 may be authorized:
Felonious crimes against a person (including escapees)
Felony property crimes, i.e., home invasion (including alarms and escapees)
Bomb and gun searches
In situations not meeting these guidelines where the Duty Supervisor feels exceptional circumstances exist, that supervisor should obtain permission from the Field Services Bureau Commander or designee, before calling out a K-9 Unit.
In the event that another agency requests the use of this Department’s K-9 for crowd control off campus, all of the following conditions must be met:
The request must come from the on-duty supervisor of that agency, unless the situation has become so critical that time does not allow for that action.
The Department’s Duty Supervisor must give permission for the use of the K-9, unless the situation has become so critical that time does not allow for that action.
The K-9 handler on the scene determines whether the use of the K-9 is feasible and reasonable.
In all incidents where a K-9 team from this Department is used to assist another agency in either a passive or active crowd control situation, a police report will be completed by the handler documenting the following:
Actions of the K-9 and the handler
The other agency’s supervisor who authorized the K-9’s use, and any other K-9 teams on scene.
Off-duty call out of K-9 may be authorized in the following situations, after approval by the Field Services Bureau Commander or designee:
Felonious crimes against a person (including escapees)
Lost or missing persons
All Department-owned K-9’s that bite someone are to be reported immediately to the Duty Supervisor and the Field Services Bureau Commander or designee. A detailed Special Report shall be completed.
In the event of a K-9 bite, the appropriate county animal control agency shall be notified by the following procedures:
During normal business hours, contact the appropriate animal control authority in the jurisdiction of the bite.
If outside of normal working hours, county animal control authority shall be notified on the next working day.
The Field Services Bureau Commander or designee will investigate and evaluate the facts.
The Field Services Bureau Commander shall notify the Chief.
All K-9 bites will be photographed after they are cleaned and treated by medical personnel.
Attempts will be made to photograph the injury prior to bandaging
No bandage will be removed by other than medical personnel, in order to photograph an injury
Medical care for the subject is of primary concern and treatment should not be delayed to facilitate a Departmental investigation
When photographing a K-9 bite of a private area keep in mind the privacy concerns of the individual and use a person of the same gender to take the pictures
A report shall be prepared by the K-9 handler with the following information:
Victim’s telephone number
Victim’s e-mail address
Location of bite, i.e., arm, leg, hand, etc.
Where the victim received medical treatment and the name of the Attending Physician
Date and time of bite
Dog license tag number
Copy of rabies vaccination
The animal control authority may return after ten (10) days to inspect the K-9 for indication of disease.
It is not necessary to quarantine the K-9 or remove it from service because of a bite.
It is not necessary for the animal control authority to see the K-9 at the time of a bite.
In any situation involving a K-9 bite or injury to a Department K-9, the Field Services Bureau Commander or designee shall be notified immediately, or as soon as reasonably possible under the existing circumstances.
Officers will report to the K-9 Supervisor if their K-9 is sick or injured.
The K-9 Supervisor, or in their absence the Uniform Division Commander or Duty Supervisor, will advise if the K-9 is to go to the veterinarian.
A Special Report will be submitted to the K-9 Supervisor when a K-9 receives medical treatment or when relieved from duty.
K-9s shall be groomed and exercised daily.
K-9s may only be removed from duty by order of the Attending Veterinarian, Duty Supervisor or Field Services Bureau Commander or designee.
Striking or kicking K-9s is strictly prohibited.
K-9s will be boarded only at authorized kennels.
Exception to this rule must be obtained from the Field Services Bureau Commander or designee.
K-9s may be boarded with other K-9 officers.
The Department currently utilizes K-9s that are not pre-trained. An appropriate familiarization period and training that is tailored to meet the needs of the new handler is established.
This familiarization period takes into consideration the experience level of the handler and is continued until the K-9 team is able to demonstrate acceptable proficiency.
A handler must successfully pass the training course provided to maintain their position as a handler.
K-9 In-Service Training
K-9 teams will maintain training in all phases of the tactical utilization of a K-9. This training will include, but not be limited to, the following:
Protection of a crime scene from scent contamination
Procedures for securing a building for a K-9 search
Capabilities and limitations of a K-9
Preservation of scent articles
Background on how a K-9 is trained and stimulus that it responds to
The above training will also be provided for other police agencies upon request.
A log must be kept for each K-9 team detailing their training, as indicated in this policy.
K-9 Handler Selection
K-9 handler applications are open to all sworn members of the Department who have completed their probationary period, however; the Department can restrict persons selected based on specialized training, other positions held, and/or rank.
The following procedure will be followed in the selection of K-9 handlers:
All applicants will make their desires known in writing addressed to the Field Services Bureau Commander or designee.
All applicants will participate in an interview process with the Field Services Bureau Commander or designee.
Each applicant’s home will be inspected by the K-9 Supervisor to determine whether there is sufficient area for the K-9.
Each applicant’s family and neighbors may be interviewed to determine whether they understand the responsibilities that accompany a police K-9.
Criteria used in the selection of dog handlers will include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:
Must be in good physical condition, determined by a physical fitness evaluation of completing:
Running a mile in approved time
Lifting weight commensurate to the weight of their K-9
Able to present a good appearance
Must be able to deal with stress effectively and not depend on the K-9
Must display pride and self-confidence
Must be approved by handler’s spouse and/or significant other so they understand the additional care and cleaning that will be necessary
Be willing to allow the K-9 to live in the house and be a part of the family
In addition to the above, the K-9 handler:
Must be willing to relinquish consideration for assignments to investigations, the Ingham Regional Special Response Team (IRSRT) operator, or other similar specialized areas while assigned as a K-9 handler.
May participate in promotional processes, provided all other requirements necessary for the position being sought are met.
Must understand that a promotion may necessitate giving up the position of K-9 handler and the Department’s assigned K-9.