Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney
October 14. 2022.
Canine Investigation in Kansas City, Mo
Dogs have earned their place as man’s best friend for hundreds of years. Little wonder that they have become helpers with detection work as well.
The Kansas City Missouri Police Department’s Canine Section is responsible for training Kansas City detection canines. The specialized unit has existed since 1960 and has explosive detection and narcotics detection teams. The training methods vary depending on the purpose for which the dogs are trained. The dogs are typically paired with handlers from whom they take commands. Training them could take from four months to a year or more, depending on the breed and the dog’s learning pace, after which they are evaluated for readiness. Only certified teams are permitted to investigate crimes and locate evidence.
Canine investigation relies on dogs’ heightened sense of smell to detect criminal activities and catch criminals. However, there are guidelines for their use. If you have been indicted for an offense due to a canine investigation, it is important to understand these rules and whether or not the police followed them before your indictment.
While law enforcement officers and K9 handlers are guided by the fourth amendment, they do not need a warrant to sniff for drugs, especially when they are not entering your premises. But if you are charged with a drug crime in Kansas City and your rights were infringed during the K9 investigation, you can employ the services of a Kansas City drug lawyer to help you fight such a charge.
K9s and the Fourth Amendment/Probable Cause
Under the search and seizure rule of the fourth amendment, the police need to show probable cause before they can obtain a warrant for a search and seizure. This includes using K9s for such searches, but the rules depend on the location of the said search.
K9 Sniffing at the Airport
The United States Supreme court in The United States v Place has ruled that a trained dog sniffing luggage at the airport does not constitute a search under the fourth amendment. This implies that the police do not need to show probable cause or a warrant to allow their dogs to sniff your luggage.
The reasoning behind this is the non-invasive nature of dog sniffing. Nobody’s luggage is taken apart, and the detected substance is not exposed, meaning that there is almost no intrusion into a person’s privacy. All the police need to have is reasonable suspicion that there may be an illegal substance in the said luggage which is a relatively low standard.
Home Search With a K9
Police or law enforcement agents need a warrant to legally search your home and private property. This includes areas around your home like your porch and yard because your home is where you would reasonably expect privacy.
Hence bringing a K9 to your property without your express permission or a warrant would likely violate your fourth amendment rights. If such a thing happens to you, Trusted Lawyers in Kansas City can help you get compensation or defend you from any charges that arise from such a search.
Nevertheless, the police could be permitted to search your home without a warrant if they genuinely believe there is an emergency they can resolve by letting the dog sniff around your home.
K9 Sniff During a Traffic Stop
The police can only pull you over for a traffic stop if they have reasonable suspicion of a traffic offense. However, they cannot prolong the stop and allow a police dog to search you after doing their routine questioning and writing a ticket for your violation. The exception is if the police reasonably suspect that you have committed another crime, such as a drug-related crime, aside from the suspected traffic crime for which they stopped you.
Also, you may get stopped at a legal checkpoint where every car is searched at intervals. The police cannot single you out for further interrogation here unless there is a reasonable suspicion that you are engaged in some crime or traffic offense. If a K9 sniffs your car during the routine search and finds anything illegal, such evidence may be admissible against you in court.