Do Prosecutors Really want Reliable Drug Detector Dogs?
After being ridiculed by prosecutors for not assisting the prosecution I decided to advertise my services in my home state's District Attorney's Association Publication the "Prosecutor." In the 1990's I had an article published concerning drug detector dogs so I figured I could assist some of the prosecutors by not being surprised in court concering the strengths and weakness of a detector dog.
"Dear Mr. Nicely: Sarah Wolf, my communications director, forwarded your request to advertise in our journal, the Texas Prosecutor. We do ads when they are things that in our judgment support the daily work of our folks, but your expertise seems better-advertised in police journals; folks who would need your training. I think they would be in a better position to use your expertise in dog training…
Thanks, rob kepple"
Could it be that at least Texas Prosecutors don't care about the true reliability of a detector dog? Dog handlers need to understand the Supreme Court could easily do away with our dogs or restrict them so badly they would not be of service. What is often not taught in handler's search and seizure classes concering dogs is in Caballes some of the justices wanted to address reliability. The majority decided not to because it was not an issue rasied at trial.
Handlers need to understand if you don't stay on top of your dog's accuracy by keeping records not for the court, but for the sole purpose of identifying potential problems, training to eliminate those problems, and testing to insure the training was correct prosecutors don't inquire nor do they appear to care. You are providing them with something that normally is an easy win. If they raised the bar on you it would move convictions from what they preceive as an easy win into a little more difficult. So they will contintue to promonte poorly trained teams. Right now the dogs I have reviewed when you take only the times a substance was seized as a result of the dog's response the dogs are only 46% accurate. Now I know you believe not your dog, but prove it. Don't go into court with a weak dog, because if you loose your dog because a poorly trained dog was promoted and it works it way into the Supreme Court and the court happens to rule against you it does not affect the prosecutor's job, but it could surely affect yours. Prevention is worth a pound of cure.