Over the past few years, I have become quite interested dog training and law enforcement both for personal and professional reasons. Like myself, most people consider their dog(s) as family. Because of this shift in our society, losing a dog can be heartbreaking. Losing a pet effects the family but it can affect the responsible parties. In recent years, cities and police departments have seen an increase in lawsuits due to intentional and unintentional shootings of dogs during arrests, conducting search warrants, and answering calls. To help educate officers and prevent unnecessary deadly force used against animals, Texas House Bill 593 was passed in 2015. According to the TCOLE (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement) website, Licensed Peace Officers are legislatively mandated (H.B. 593) to take a Canine Encounters course. This 4 hour course goes over topics such as determining if a dog is dangerous, recognizing and understanding canine behavior, aggression, and prevention.
Some police departments are going above and beyond in training by partnering with dog trainers and even using simulators to ensure proper training. I went through SAPD’s Citizen Police Academy and experienced their simulator first hand. The realistic interaction with the simulator is astonishing and so helpful for a real-world setting. Although I don’t know if they offer this Canine Encounter training through their simulator, the training curriculum is still informative. This article discusses more in-depth about the simulators and how effective they have become in training officers.