Report on Unreliability of Drug Detecting Dogs
The Chicago Tribune has completed a review of three years of data on drug detection dogs used in traffic stops. It finds the dogs were wrong more often than they were right. Only 44% of positive alerts led to the recovery of drugs or paraphernalia. The success rate dropped to 27% for hispanic drivers.
Most courts hold that during a traffic stop, if a properly trained dog alerts, it amounts to probable cause to search the vehicle. The problem seems to be that many of the dogs, and their handlers, are not properly trained. Few states require certification and mandatory training and there is a paucity of "best practices" or even uniform standards. [More...]
Even advocates for the use of drug-sniffing dogs agree with experts who say many dog-and-officer teams are poorly trained and prone to false alerts that lead to unjustified searches. Leading a dog around a car too many times or spending too long examining a vehicle, for example, can cause a dog to give a signal for drugs where there are none, experts said.
There are also issues with dogs responding to a handler’s cues rather than to actual drug odors.
For more, check out "Those Doggone Sniffs Are Often Wrong: The Fourth Amendment Has Gone To The Dogs."
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