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When Police Learn

Via Radley Balko: Dog shooting prompts police to change policies

Balko’s been in the forefront of getting the public aware of the outrageous amount of puppycide that takes place with law enforcement (and many of these killings are part of routine drug warrant enforcement).

Here’s a rare example where public reaction has resulted in real policy change.

Assistant Police Chief David Carter said a new policy that will go into effect July 1 addresses the options officers have when compelled to use force against dogs.

One of the most significant changes to the policy, Carter said, is that it is more specific on what constitutes a dangerous animal and when an officer can use deadly force against one.

The new policy clarifies that lethal force is authorized if officers decide there is “imminent danger of bodily harm” to themselves or another human, not when a dog is simply acting aggressively, Carter said. It requires a higher level of discretion; the old policy was less specific and said lethal force can be used if an animal is a threat to safety.

The new policy also explains alternatives to deadly force, including yelling at a dog, firing a Taser or using pepper spray.

There are other revisions as well, Carter said. The new policy raises the level of scrutiny on fatal dog shootings. If an officer does use deadly force against a dog, he or she must explain why lesser force was not used, and the incident will be reviewed by the entire chain of command — not just an officer’s sergeant, as is current policy, he said.

“It raises the stature” of dog shootings, Carter said. “We need to be as accountable for the shooting of a dog as any other force.”

They’re also going to institute trainging for cadets on how to handle aggressive dogs without lethal force.

Good news. It would be nice if it was more than just one police department…

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6 comments to When Police Learn

  • Servetus

    Austin police and other departments may want to check out the Brandenburg, Germany, postal service, whose mail carriers take a course in dog handling techniques:

    http://www.thelocal.de/society/20120626-43389.html

  • primus

    There is one unfortunate fact which will render these public relations exercises futile: they rely on ‘officer discretion.’ Discretion requires two things lacking in the police; intelligence and an understanding of subtlety. They are hired by goons to act as goons, not much different from a bouncer.

  • andres

    OR, this is just a released statement which means nothing just as almost everything else the cops say. They had to release a statement, and they did. Now they will just not follow it and forgive any cop that still shoots dogs.

    I just label everything they say as bull, and they’ve earned it.

  • steve

    Its about time, be nice if they would do the same kind of training with regard to “humans.”

  • Dante

    “When Police Learn”

    The average Law Enforcer in this country is a bigoted, ignorant, sadistic putz. Police “learn” when they are forced to.

    Nothing will change until we get to crash into their houses in the middle of the night, shooting their dogs and shouting curses at their 7-year-old child. Oh, and after it’s all over, announcing that we followed procedure. When the police are subjected to that, they will learn and not before. Just like tyrants throughout history – they must suffer the consequences of their actions before they will cease their actions.

    Protect & Serve (Themselves!)

    • War Vet

      What about the 6,000 plus U.S. soldiers these cops murdered in Iraq and Afghanistan via the cops protecting illegal drug money in the hands of terrorists and insurgents (and not in the hands of legal businesses) . . . what about the nearly 3,000 U.S. citizens the cops murdered on 9/11 via allowing the terrorists to sell drugs illegally from their very own endorsed 1961 U.N. Single Convention on Narcotics . . . what about the $3 trillion dollars reported by the NY Times and Brown University etc embezzled by the Department of Justice in the form of our nation fighting a drug money fueled enemy from 9/11 and her two wars (which is considered to be also associated with the cost of drug enforcement)? The cops control drugs being illegal, just like Nazi soldiers controlled the death, war and Holocaust of WWII . . . the cops are responsible for their actions and one cannot always throw away the law and morality in the name of ‘obeying orders’. U.S. Law Enforcement also murdered roughly 10,000 U.S. soldiers in Vietnam, since that’s the most logical amount killed from what drug money in the 1960’s and 70’s alone can afford (unless we are assuming North Vietnam was a 1st World Nation able to afford all their war –because God knows Russia and China were not willing to foot much of the bill out of fear of attack and or sanctions from us and the U.N./NATO). The cops have murdered in cold blood hundreds of thousands of people via genocides and wars (portions there of) financed by drug money. What if we lived in a rational and lawful world where the same amount of cops are killed and wounded every year in the line of duty as those killed and wounded every year from fighting drug money in the War on Terror? At least it would be just . . . are cops willing to die for drugs the way U.S. soldiers are forced to -just to keep another 9/11 from happening or to keep terrorists away from having the Bomb (which will most likely be bought with drug money due to the fact drugs are illegal, and thus covert and not overt and with a paper trail of taxes and legal revenue)?

      The cops have had over 70yr years to eradicate the U.S. of all drugs and drug users, but they haven’t and yet we fill it necessary to pay them their full paychecks and benefits and pensions each month for a job at best half done every day (its got to be one of the easiest jobs known to man –you get paid in full for only half a days work or less) . . . would you pay full price for half a car or half a house . . . would you pay someone full price to only mow half your yard? They are committing fraud right under our taxed noses. Remember Athens, Tennessee August 1st, 1946? The cops are the main reason why we are in a recession: they helped attack us on 9/11 (knowing terrorist use drug money –yet protecting it in the name of ‘just doing our job’ is a form of treason –they’ve had many opportunities since 9/11 to start obeying the real laws of America -but have failed), they sent us to an 11plus years long war (where they won’t let us grow hemp for victory), the cops are and have been keeping us from millions of jobs in the form of denied hemp thus encouraging American businesses to outsource their jobs and use dirty –less renewable and more expensive chemicals/consumer goods due to no American grown hemp.