What is your department’s policy regarding the use of police dogs?
Chief Douglas Stephens: So we are fortunate that we have a K-9 program in Littleton at an agency, our size. It’s a luxury to have a program like that. We have two K-9s, Bandit and Zan. Those are they’re terrific dogs. Very, very, very, very highly trained. We’re only really able to have a K-9 program based on the support of our community members. We have a wonderful organization called Friends of Littleton K-9. They’re a 501(c)3. You should look them up. But anyway, they support us. They’ve purchased dogs for us. They spend tens of thousands of dollars supporting this program, and we’re very thankful for that. Our police K-9s are what we call dual-purpose dogs. They are cross-trained to detect narcotics as well as patrol apprehension dogs. They could do a traditional apprehension and search for suspects.
They enhanced officer safety tremendously by… We can send a dog into… Let’s say we have a large building, where we have a burglary call, and we believe someone may be inside. We can use dogs to search a building much quicker and safer than sending officers inside or narcotics intervention. We get some questions a lot lately. It’s a very unique thing. Marijuana, right? So previous dogs that we have had have been trained because marijuana to be illegal in Colorado. So our dogs were trained for marijuana and then all other different types of drugs as well. Our two dogs we have now, we started this with our most recent purchase after marijuana became legal. Both our dogs now are specifically not trained to detect marijuana because we do not want to have one of our dogs alerts on a substance that’s legal in the state.
So kind of goes back to lawful detention and search and seizure law. I want to make sure that our dogs are alerting on truly illegal narcotics based on state law and federal office, as far as schedule, well, marijuana. That’s another different argument. But anyway, so our dogs, we do have policies on deployment of the dogs. We do have policies on what we need to do for the dogs to apprehend someone when someone’s injured. They’re very detailed, and they’ll soon be on the internet for folks to take a look at if they choose to.