K-9 Use in the Workplace
From The New Book
by Justin Spence
Many people, when thinking of a police service dog (otherwise known as a “K-9”), might think of a large, snarling German Shepherd with a bad attitude that only wants to do one thing: attack…attack...attack…. This is the farthest thing from the truth, and due to these misconceptions many agencies and businesses alike are missing out on the many uses of a K-9.
In fact, police service dogs are even-tempered, sociable animals who do far, far more than suspect apprehension and handler protection. These specifically trained animals must be able to play with and love a child one moment and be able to apprehend a fleeing felon the next—and go from one extreme to the other with ease. They only make the cut and are able to become certified if they have those qualities that keeps an ill-tempered dog from ever obtaining a position as a police service dog.
Among other specialties, detection K-9s are specifically trained to detect different substances, such as narcotics, alcoholic beverages, weapons, accelerants, and explosives.
K-9 Uses in Business Environments
Unexplained inventory shortages, decreased production, rising injury rates, damaged products, and a host of other issues can signal hidden problems in the organization. Problems such as employee dishonesty, drug and alcohol abuse, and fraudulent workers compensation claims can add to financial ruin for any business.
Likewise, if your company has industrial accidents or fatalities caused by on the job drug use, you will inevitably experience the legal and moral ramifications that follow.
Studies by the Labor and Resources Subcommittee on Employment and Productivity found that, compared to the average worker, drug users are absent from work 16 times more often, have an accident rate four times greater, use over 33% more sickness benefits, and file five times more compensation claims. Another study found that 47% of on the job injuries were directly related to drug/alcohol abuse. Furthermore, it is estimated that over $60 to $100 billion is lost annually in productivity by U.S. corporations and small businesses.
The Federal Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires that contractors and grantees provide a safe, drug-free environment for their employees.
Specifically trained detection canines can quietly and quickly check for just about any type of illegal contraband in virtually all environments. This can aid in fire investigations to check for accelerants, narcotics investigations (in schools, businesses, or even for concerned parents) to check for many types of illegal narcotics, or for workplace investigations to check for weapons or even alcoholic beverage consumption on the job site. They are also very useful in detecting explosives for schools, businesses, or executive protection contracts.
The detection K-9 can pick up on odors 200+ times better than a human can, thus making them an invaluable resource. A detection K-9 can sniff a set of time cards and will be able to detect the user from that sniff. A detection K-9 can sniff out a single bullet in a briefcase or locker.
A K-9 trained on the “passive” alert method (in which they simply sit when they detect the odor they are trained on) can even perform sweeps on an employee or student without them even knowing, by just walking the dog past them. Although this type of search does fall under the Fourth Amendment and a person’s right to privacy, it is not advised to do this type of procedure unless you are trying to secretly weed out who may be the user in the group. This passive method is the preferred method of response for use in school or business environments, since it does not raise anxiety levels and is a quiet alert that does not cause destruction to property.
A detector dog sniff, although sometimes called a “search” or “sweep,” is not a search as defined in the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment covers people, not places, and therefore anything in public and semi-public places is subject to a detector dog sniff. Such things are lockers, hallways, vehicles, trash, etc.
Some useful supreme court rulings that back up detector dog sniffs are:
Doe v. Renfrow, The case allowed a subject’s detainment in order to obtain a detector dog to sniff for narcotics in the subject’s luggage. It was not classified as a search and did not infringe upon the subject’s Fourth Amendment rights.
Horton v. Goose Creek Ind. School District, The case showed that schools are public places and that when the lockers, hallways, student’s back-packs, desks, and vehicles were subjected to a detector dog sniff, it was not a search.
|Places covered by the Fourth Amendment:
1. Private property
4. The curtilage of homes
5. A person's body
Places not covered by the Fourth Amendment:
1. Abandoned property
2. Public places
3. Trash once it has been abandoned
4. Open fields
5. Things exposed to public view
Myth: A drug detection K-9 cannot detect the narcotic odor if covered up by coffee, gas, grease, or other harsh masking odors, etc. “I have had dogs alert on a truck with dope hidden in a false gas tank, covered with gas and dipped in engine grease. That is why they are trained with proofing odors, which include anything from dog food to perfume to tennis balls, etc.”
JS Justin Spence is an expert in Explosives Investigations and Domestic Terrorism Preparedness. He has trained thousands of federal employees in basic explosives identification and detection and in the proper use of Explosives Detection Machines and Trace Detectors in an airport environment. He heads up the K-9 Support Unit of Source Investigations Group, Inc., based in Orlando, FL, that provides support for special investigations that involve narcotics, explosives, or may need a higher level of protection.
Reprinted from the book
Business Security with permission
by T. A. Brown, Editor
And Particial Author