Police and Military Dogs: Criminal Detection, Forensic Evidence, and Judicial Admissibility


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Only dogs that gave no False Alarms over trials during step 5 and continuous training entered the judicial case program. One dog Athos was excluded from the group because its records were accidently lost. The total number of animals in the experimental group was then About 15 minutes before the start of the judicial case task, human olfactory matching-to-sample performance was evaluated on a pre-case proficiency test.

Utilization of police dogs: a Turkish perspective

For this, dogs were tested on 3 line-ups of human odours with a procedure similar to continuous training. The purpose of the identification task was to make a match between a TS collected from a crime-scene object and the scent collected from a suspect or victim BS or TS. Probe tests were inserted between trials. Positive identification was noted in the official report when the dog lay down in front of the jar containing the matching odour. In that case, the line-up was repeated by the dog and the trial was recorded by a video camera. In case of a Miss, the trial was considered negative and the technician noted absence of identification.

A Miss response meant that the dog did not match the sample with the target, but did not necessarily imply that the target scent was not present in the sample or that the suspect was not present at the crime scene. When the dogs completed all of the tests, the scent identification was officially validated and the report indicated whether an association had been made between the scent from the suspect and the collected evidence scent. The care and use of dogs in all experimental procedures met the requirements imposed by the international police InterPol legislation and were approved by the review board of the Central Direction of the French Judicial Police.

All control scents were collected from volunteers according to the procedure previously described with their verbal and written consent. The human volunteer scent collection procedures complied with the Declaration of Helsinki for Medical Research involving Human Subjects and were approved by the review board of InterPol and the Central Direction of the French Judicial Police specifically designed to evaluate the potential ethical concerns of research on human subjects. Procedures for trace and body scent collection from suspects in custody met all the requirements of Article For all statistical comparisons, the significance threshold was set at 0.

The number of animals per group is indicated in the figure legends. The specificity scores at the end of step 5 demonstrated that dogs fully acquired the human olfactory matching-to-sample task with our line-up method, suggesting that human scents collected with our method are usable and valuable. In addition, the fact that no dogs ever committed FA during the last trials confirmed the uniqueness of the human odours.

Importantly, the matching-to-sample task was performed by the dogs without their handlers, and therefore the high Hit rate was solely attributable to the learning and olfactory abilities of the dogs and was not biased by any external influence of the handler [ 33 , 34 ]. Table 1 S2 Data presents results for the 10 periods of continuous training, each period comprising a mean As shown in the Table, sensitivity significantly increased throughout continuous training, with scores ranging from These results suggest that the sensitivity and specificity of human olfactory matching-to-sample improves with extensive training.

Interestingly, all False Alarms were made by Belgian Shepherd dogs; the reason for this is unclear, however the time these dogs took to complete their line-up tasks suggests a decrease in level of attention. Sensitivity varied throughout continuous training depending on the type of odour combination.

Human odour identification in judicial cases took place from to The number of dogs that were assigned to the same judicial case has always ranged between 2 and 7 and the total number of line-ups per court case ranged between It is important to note that, as in previous reports [ 35 ], the success rates in identification were higher when the scent traces had been collected at the crime scene between within 24 hours of the offence Interestingly, confronting the suspect with a positive identification often leads to confession; since , positive identifications made by dogs of the French DTSP in judicial cases helped to solve criminal cases out of It is arguable that research on the forensic reliability of procedures based on dog scent capability has not adequately supported its widespread use in law enforcement.

According to Jezierski et al.

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Moreover, the proportion of distractors in the mixture affects the intensity of the targeted human odorants in the head space [ 37 , 38 ] and interactions between odorant molecules in a mixture influence the detection and recognition of odorants in humans and in animals through activation of the olfactory sensory neurons in the nasal olfactory mucosa [ 39 , 40 ]. If a Hit response depends directly on the degree of perceived similarity between body molecules present in the odour sample and those present in the line-up, then the difference in sensitivity suggests that the proportions of body molecules and distractors differ between BS and TS mixtures and that a common specific body scent feature is difficult for dogs to extract when both types of odour are used in the test.

Interestingly, our results show an increase in sensitivity during training, suggesting that the ability of dogs to perform human matching-to-sample can improve with the number of trials. The fact that FAs were committed exclusively by Belgian Shepherds and that sensitivity was higher in German Shepherds suggests that the latter breed should be preferred in future procedures. The present study shows that rigorous procedures and continuous training lead to high sensitivity and specificity on human olfactory matching-to-sample tasks.

The high reproducibility of the scores during continuous training guarantees the accuracy of results in judicial identification tests. These data refer to Fig 3 and Table 1. The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Olivier Thiery, Vincent Bellido, Cynthia Pillard and Benjamin Henry for animal care and collection of data and all trainers, handlers and canines that took part in the dog trial.

Authors also want to thank Daniel Grignon who has founded the group of odorologie at the DTSP and Elvire Arrighi for helpful comments on the manuscript. Wrote the paper: BF. Browse Subject Areas? Click through the PLOS taxonomy to find articles in your field. Abstract Human scent identification is based on a matching-to-sample task in which trained dogs are required to compare a scent sample collected from an object found at a crime scene to that of a suspect. Introduction Olfactory cues provide information about food, mates, offspring, predators, prey and pathogens [ 1 , 2 ]. Material and Methods Animals Data obtained for 13 Shepherd dogs German: 1 female, 8 males; Belgian: 1 female, 3 males over a period of 10 and a half years were used in this study.

Scent collection All human scents were collected by a qualified technician, wearing a special sterile paper suit and powder-free nitrile examination gloves.

Police and military dogs : criminal detection, forensic evidence, and judicial admissibility

Body scent BS collection. Trace Scent TS collection. Experimental design of dog training The training consisted in the dog acquiring the human olfactory matching-to-sample task, in which successful choice of the odour matching the sample is followed by reinforcement food or a dog treat. Initial training.

Download: PPT. Fig 1. Four positions of a trained dog during the human scent line-up task. Continuous training. Judicial cases court cases Judicial cases identification task. Fig 2. Continuous training Table 1 S2 Data presents results for the 10 periods of continuous training, each period comprising a mean Table 1. Fig 3. Effect of the type of scent combination used during continuous training on sensitivity scores.


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Court cases identification Human odour identification in judicial cases took place from to Discussion It is arguable that research on the forensic reliability of procedures based on dog scent capability has not adequately supported its widespread use in law enforcement. Supporting Information. S1 Data. Summary of the data mean S.

These data refer to Fig 2. S2 Data. Acknowledgments The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Olivier Thiery, Vincent Bellido, Cynthia Pillard and Benjamin Henry for animal care and collection of data and all trainers, handlers and canines that took part in the dog trial.

References 1. Combinatorial receptor codes for odors. Cell ; 96 5 : — Mombaerts P. Marchal, S. Et al. Ensminger writes that the importance of the exact training of a police dog has reached the U. Supreme court in Florida v. Jardines [50] when the specifics of some of that training related to admissible evidence is decided.

The brief before the Supreme Court of the United States cites Ensminger's book: "These and other factors can cause a dog's skills to vary at times, and a dog can succeed at a task on one day and fail at the same task on another.

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Harris [52] An article by Jezierski and Ensminger in Forensic Science International describes the continuing quest for data about the efficacy of trained drug detection dogs. The twenty five chapters in this book, written by twenty nine contributors, discuss the latest research into all aspects of working dog olfaction.

Results from dog olfaction research are widely used, penetrating even into the virtual realm of gaming where game programmers attempt to create a realistic dog world as explained by Tyler who references Canine Olfaction Science and Law from Ensminger and Budansky's chapter in his paper, New Tricks. The Doglawreporter blog has been growing in size and readership since , though Ensminger now only adds updates occasionally. Ensminger has chosen to report information concerning dogs not only with respect to various legal aspects but also information about the relationship between dogs and humans throughout history.

Presently there are over entries to the blog and thousands of source references. Besides having information of interest to the casual reader the blog is also cited by researchers such as professors Yilmaz O. Ensminger has written several articles concerning the early history of western civilization around the time of Christ. An often quoted article in the Southwestern Journal of Theology , This can be seen in larger context where it is included by the Earlychurch website [61] as a secondary source for those interested in that timeline. Concerning early Rome during the first century A.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other people named John Ensminger, see John Ensminger disambiguation. Retrieved Journal of Psychiatry and Law V. Ensminger and Patrick Reilly. Psychoanal Q. Summer Law and Contemporary Problems. Essays in Therapeutic Jurisprudence. Therapeutic Jurisprudence. The Federation Press.

Police and Military Dogs

Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. Psychological Evaluations for the Courts. New York: Guilford Press. Civic Research Institute. Fabozzi, CFA The Use of Derivatives in Tax Planning. Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy. Seton Hall Law Review. Ensminger, Concerto for Piano vs. Spring The ongoing goal of this program is to continue to advance scientifically sound detection K-9 validation programs which are internationally recognized and which improve contraband interdiction from local enforcement to courtroom defensibility. The procedures have a national focus to guide detector dog activities, and they are supplemental to general operational procedures in the Airport and Maritime Operations Manual AMOM.


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  • We anticipate that establishing consensus based best practices for the use of detection teams will provide many benefits to local law enforcement and homeland security. Improving the consistency and performance of deployed teams and optimizing their combination with electronic detection devices will improve interdiction efforts as well as courtroom acceptance.

    The purpose of the NNDDA is to provide training pertaining to the laws of search and seizure, utilizing scent detector dogs and a method of certification for court purposes. Defense counsel should not merely accept the testimony of police handlers, and should be prepared to obtain equally reliable testimony of experts on the crucial issues presented in the facts. Courts should not accept harmless error arguments to shield defense lawyers who inadequately investigate the results obtained by the police and introduced into evidence by the prosecution.

    Detector Dogs and Probable Cause , 14 Geo. Mason L. We will discuss service dogs, therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, police dogs and other working dogs. We will look at current research on dogs, such as that on dogs that detect cancers or alert to new types of explosives. We will ask how these changes are being accepted and understood and how these developments are translating into laws and regulations. Drug dog sniff is not a search under Illinois v. With proper procedures, both forensic and judicial, scent lineups can be valuable evidence for a jury to consider.

    Unfortunately, many courts have been willing to admit poorly conducted procedures, even if giving lip service to the fact that the scent lineup was deficient by saying that its admission was harmless error.

    Police and Military Dogs: Criminal Detection, Forensic Evidence, and Judicial Admissibility Police and Military Dogs: Criminal Detection, Forensic Evidence, and Judicial Admissibility
    Police and Military Dogs: Criminal Detection, Forensic Evidence, and Judicial Admissibility Police and Military Dogs: Criminal Detection, Forensic Evidence, and Judicial Admissibility
    Police and Military Dogs: Criminal Detection, Forensic Evidence, and Judicial Admissibility Police and Military Dogs: Criminal Detection, Forensic Evidence, and Judicial Admissibility
    Police and Military Dogs: Criminal Detection, Forensic Evidence, and Judicial Admissibility Police and Military Dogs: Criminal Detection, Forensic Evidence, and Judicial Admissibility
    Police and Military Dogs: Criminal Detection, Forensic Evidence, and Judicial Admissibility Police and Military Dogs: Criminal Detection, Forensic Evidence, and Judicial Admissibility

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