Category Archives: K9

Combat Flip Flops Vs. K9 Malinois

In case you haven’t heard of Combat Flip Flops, here is something from their website: “The journey began with the 75th Ranger Regiment. Lee and Griff made their first trip to Afghanistan in the Winter of 2003.  After several deployments and reality of a growing families, they separated from the military in 2006 and continued to support troops through other avenues. In 2010, Griff returned to Afghanistan to assist the growing Afghan National Army.  On that trip, he toured an Afghan-owned boot manufacturing plant and saw where a factory worker punched a flip flop thong through a combat boot sole.  The idea was born. “We started Combat Flip Flops with … Continue reading

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SCOTUS Rules K9 Sniff of Home is an Illegal Search

In a move I think we all saw coming, the Supreme Court of the United States held that a K9 sniff to the exterior of a house constitutes a warrantless search and as such is a violation of the Fourth Amendment in Joelis Jardines v. State of Florida (SC08-2101).  As I had written in my earlier article, the interesting argument posed by the State of Florida in this case was that the sniff of the K9 dog detects only illegal substances, not the legal activities of an ordinary citizen.  It also does not “illuminate” the residence to public examination, as would a search of the residence. SCOTUS addressed the State’s … Continue reading

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I was the supervisor on scene when a gunfight broke out between the suspect and an officer at a wanted subject call two nights ago.  All the officers reacted appropriately and the incident eventually came to a successful conclusion.  I was proud of our troops and of the troops from the two assisting agencies that responded to help. Following the volley of gunshots (and after ducking), I had been moving some of our guys around on the perimeter, adjusting fields of fire, when I asked one of the officers to take up a position further east.  He was proned out behind a tree with his AR.  As he went to … Continue reading

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U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Florida in K9 Records Case

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Florida Supreme Court in the 2006 K9 narcotics detector case of Florida vs. Harris.  Siding with the trial court, the Supreme Court ruled that K9 training and testing documentation are sufficient trial evidence to support the probable cause of a drug dog’s alert.  The Florida High Court had ruled that the State must provide “an exhaustive set of records, including a log of the dog’s field performance, to establish the dog’s reliability.” The Supremes disagreed and cited Illinois vs Gates 642 U.S. 213-239 (1983):  “Finely tuned standards such as proof beyond a reasonable doubt or by a preponderance of the evidence have no … Continue reading

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The Right K9 Tool for the Right Job

We responded to a bomb threat last week.  Having an explosives detector dog at the scene reminded me of a call years ago when I was a K9 handler. It was the early 1990’s.  I was working a dual-purpose Patrol and Narcotics K9 on the Midnight Shift.  A woman called 911 to report that she was having a domestic with her boyfriend.  During the argument, he threatened to blow her and her whole family up.  Prior to our arrival, she told the dispatcher that he had left their…wait for it…mobile home with something under his shirt. Officers arrived on scene and she disgorged that he had previously served in the … Continue reading

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Leon County Sheriff’s Office K9 Koda Slain

In an attempt to apprehend fleeing murder suspect Carlos Cespedes, Leon County Sheriff’s Office K9 Koda was shot and killed in the line of duty on 2/1/2013. LCSO PIO Lt. James McQuaig reported that Deputy Ron McMullen, his partner K9 Koda, and Deputy Tyler Epstein confronted the suspect at the end of a vehicle pursuit.  Cespedes fired his gun at the deputies and K9 Koda was hit by a single bullet. Dep’s McMullen and Epstein returned fire and the suspect was hit.  He is in the hospital with a gunshot wound to the head.  The deputies were uninjured.  Cespedes had active warrants from the Tallahassee Police for first degree murder, … Continue reading

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Retired FHP K9 Drake Dies Defending Home

Retired Florida Highway Patrol K9 Drake was shot multiple times at his master’s West Palm Beach home last Sunday by armed burglars. On Friday, Trooper Bobby Boody, Drake’s owner, and Dr. Ken Simmons flew K9 Drake to the University of Florida Veterinary Medical Center in Gainesville in a final attempt to save the wounded dog’s life. After a consult between Dr. Simmons, Trooper Boody, and UF veterinary surgeons, it was decided to put K9 Drake down to end his suffering. K9 Drake was euthanized at 6:14 Friday. Trooper Boody was not at home Sunday when three suspects shot K9 Drake through a sliding glass door as the dog tried to … Continue reading

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Georgia K9 Dog Dies From Severe Neglect

I am absolutely sickened by this story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about Warwick, GA Police K9 Sasha, who died of neglect in her Chevrolet Tahoe while her “handler” was on a three day vacation. K9 Sasha, a 10 year old Dutch Shepherd, had been given to the Warwick PD by the Miami, FL Police Department about two years ago.  She was a trained narcotics detector dog with many finds both in Florida and in Georgia. Click the link above if you want to read the details of her death.  I really do not feel like printing them here. As a former Police K9 Handler, I had nothing but outrage in … Continue reading

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Police K9’s, Pursuits, and Multitasking

A shootout in Fortville, Indiana two days ago had me thinking about the additional multitasking a K9 handler must go through in a vehicle pursuit.  The “routine traffic stop” had devolved into a car chase during which the suspect, James Lockhart III, abruptly brought his vehicle to a stop, exited, and quickly fired on Fortville Police K9 Ofc. Matt Fox. Bullets tore through the windshield of Ofc. Fox’s marked Dodge Charger, striking the officer in the left forearm, left hand, and forehead.  Ofc. Fox’s ballistic vest stopped a round to his chest.  He was shot before he could get out of his patrol car. I have vivid recollections of many … Continue reading

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A K9 Team is Born

A new K9 Handler and dog are preparing to hit the street next week.  Their graduation ceremony from K9 school is upon us and I could not be happier for the Unit’s junior member. It has been two decades since I was in his shoes, but I still remember the excitement and trepidation I had on leaving the known rigors of school for the uncertainty of success on the road. Because of the nature of the job, the learning curve can be steep and dangerous.  As I write this, I learned of a Palm Beach County K9 Team involved in a shoot-out this morning where a lieutenant and a police … Continue reading

Posted in K9 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment ASAT Collar and Leads

Elite K-9 sells all manner of working K9 products.  When I was at SHOT Show earlier in the year, I stopped by their booth and met Jason Ferren.  Elite K-9, manufacturers and sellers of Police and Military K9 gear and training products, introduced the new ASAT collars and leads at the 2012 SHOT Show. According to Elite K-9, the ASAT leads are “waterproof, mildew-proof, rot-proof,” and have a breaking strength of 750 pounds on the 3/4″ lead.  The lead remains pliable down to -20° F and is not affected by heat up to 300° F.  The ASAT collars share the same characteristics, except their breaking strength is 1500 pounds. The … Continue reading

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Police Qualified Immunity Rejected in Florida K9 Dog Bite Case

I wrote an article for based on a K9 bite case from U. S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit ruling in Edwards vs. Shanley and Lovette (11-11512) from the Orlando Police Department. The full article is linked above and gives the details of the call, but the gist of the ruling was that in the facts and circumstances specific to the Orlando incident in 2008, the judgment of the Appeals Court was to reject the qualified immunity defense of the two defendant police officers in this civil lawsuit. At consideration in the case was the plaintiff’s allegations that the K9 dog bit him for five to seven minutes, which … Continue reading

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U. S. Supreme Court to Rule on Florida K9 Drug Sniff

The Unites States Supreme Court will make a ruling this year in the case of a K9 sniff conducted outside a private residence in 2008.  The alert by Miami-Dade narcotics detector K9 Franky resulted in a search warrant for the residence and ultimately a drug seizure and arrest. At odds in Joelis Jardines vs. State of Florida (SC08-2101) is whether the sniff of the exterior of the home violated the suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights to search and seizure.  Jardines was arrested after the search warrant service yielded 179 marijuana plants in his home.

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