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Nevada Drug Dog Troopers Allege Official Misconduct

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #741)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

A group of Nevada Highway Patrol troopers and a retired police sergeant have filed a lawsuit against the Patrol and the Las Vegas Metro Police charging them with racketeering and corruption. The charges center on the department's training and use of drug-sniffing dogs.

Drug sniffing dogs can be trained to alert on cue. (US Navy)
The troopers' complaint opens a most unflattering window on personal bickering, bureaucratic infighting, and unethical behavior among state law enforcement officials, as well as alleging unconstitutional policing practices, including unlawful searches and seizures and training drug dogs to learn "cues" about when to signal they have found drugs.

The complaint centers on what the troopers say was the intentional effort of Nevada Highway Patrol Commander Chris Perry to undermine the drug dog program after it was approved by then Gov. Jim Gibbons and retaliation against drug dog-handling troopers by Perry and his underlings.

But it reveals patterns of racial profiling, unconstitutional searches and seizures, and enforcement driven by hopes of asset forfeiture (which, incidentally, funded the entire drug dog program). The suing troopers allege that other troopers and Las Vegas Metro Police narcotics officers would illegally poke and open packages at a Fedex processing center to make it easier for drug dogs to hit on them.

Equally seriously, the complaint alleges that some drug dogs were intentionally trained to provide false alerts that they had detected drugs by responding to cues from their handlers. Using a false drug dog alert as the basis for initiating a search is illegal.

The complaint accuses Perry and his underlings of violating the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizaion (RICO) act by conspiring to use the improperly trained drug dogs to systematically conduct illegal searches and seizures for financial benefit.

None of the individuals or law enforcement organizations named in the lawsuit have yet publicly responded.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


William Aiken (not verified)

In a county near where I live in upstate New York, the sheriff's department recently just hired five German Shepherds in a expansion of their K-9 unit. These dogs are allegedly trained to detect drugs and explosives. But the reality is that there's no need or opportunity in this area for them to find the latter. What this purchasing of these dogs means is the sheriff's department will increase the likelihood that if you're pulled over in this county, a K-9 unit will be handy to investigate your vehicle.


 The courts have ruled that during a stop for a routine traffic stop, law enforcement can't detain you while they wait for a K-9 unit to verify that you might be in possession of an illegal substance. Now with these additional drug sniffing dogs, law enforcement won't have to wait for a K-9 unit to arrive on the scene. They can conduct the K-9 search as part of a routine traffic stop and that invasive procedure will most likely stand up in court. I hope this case receives a lot of publicity as this lawsuit moves forward in the courts and hopefully the public takes notice that these K-9 units can be used in nefarious ways against American citizens. It kills me the way in which my own tax dollars of being used to circumvent and shred the fourth amendment while the general public doesn't appear to care.  

Sat, 06/30/2012 - 8:35am Permalink
kickback (not verified)

Use of a " Drug Dog " is just a tactic to avoid having to seek a warrant . Police like to turn over their activity and intelligence to a Canine . Avoid responsibility . Try to cross-examine a " drug dog " at trial and see what happens . The whole " Drug War " is a sham from top to bottom . Can you see that forest over there where the trees are at ?

Sun, 07/01/2012 - 12:49am Permalink
Paul Pot (not verified)


The law protects you form search by people but not from being searched by dogs so the dogs use dogs to get round their own laws. 

The cops are the biggest criminals in the community. 

Mon, 07/02/2012 - 5:42am Permalink
Nedmorlef (not verified)

In reply to by Paul Pot (not verified)

Those are the guys that give me hope in LE. Those guys are why I don't advocate violence against the police.....and that two of my best friends are cops...."smoker lenient" street cops...and yes they know I smoke....and at one time so did they.  However, a man in a mask has something to hide then, pair that with a gun and that, has always been a criminal and always will be a criminal no matter which side of the badge it resides on.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 11:15am Permalink
Nedmorlef (not verified)

I'm not from Nevada but, The police employees that, live in my neighborhood use old hunting trucks with dog boxes in the bed or a high walled straw bale trailer. They put the k-9s in those boxes or the back of that trailer and then drive them right up next to your house or car in traffic. They are looking for open windows or vents but, they will settle for just sitting downwind of you and sniffing. At night they'll just walk up to the back of your house with the dog and kneel outside an open window.[ These dogs are trained to signal not bark.] If you catch them they are cops. They have excuses ready for being on your land. If you report them they'll be "on official assignment".

They do a lot more heinous things that, I'm not allowed to say here w/o liability.

In my opinion the evidence is all collected and the case is closed before they ever apply for a warrant. They make sure they have you before they react. That keeps the lawsuits down.

 It's like another poster said. it's a "sham from top to bottom". They prosecute you in "no due process" courts,confiscate your lawyer money,steal your 50 yr old home 20 yrs into the 30 yr mortgage after they illegally located a 3 week old plant that, they call a drug and estimate will be worth $15,000 at street to 6th graders. With the threat of instant death for you and your puppy for a furtive movement or bark , looming from the moment they first peer from your bushes.

It makes the growers and dealers look like choir boys.

Fri, 07/06/2012 - 11:02am Permalink

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