Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Filer Dog Shooting Leads to Questions about Police Training

Posted By on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Filer police officer Tarek Hassani face-to-face with Hooch, a black Labrador retriever, moments before the dog was fatally shot in February. - FILER POLICE DEPARTMENT
  • Filer Police Department
  • Filer police officer Tarek Hassani face-to-face with Hooch, a black Labrador retriever, moments before the dog was fatally shot in February.

When the 7-year-old black Labrador named "Hooch" was shot and killed in his owner's front yard by a Filer police officer in February, that triggered many law enforcement agencies and citizens alike to question current animal-encounter policies, and the lack of training given to law officers on the subject.

The Times-News reports that since the dog's death—which went viral when the patrol car's dashboard cam footage of the incident was released—the Filer City Council has hired Canine Encounters Law Enforcement Training out of Texas to train city workers how to deal with dogs on the job. Ada County scheduled the same training for its peace officers.

"Our officers deal with a lot of dog calls," Jerome Police Chief Dan Hall told the Times-News. "I can't help but feel that dog owners are part of the problem. People need to be responsible dog owners—most dog owners are—but it only takes a few to make a problem."

The law enforcement training at the College of Southern Idaho considers dog-encounter training advanced, and barely covers it. Idaho's police academy only teaches the basics.

"We don't do any training whatsoever on animals. None," said Rory Olsen, deputy division administrator for the Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training in Boise. But the academy has endorsed the Canine Encounters Law Enforcement Training, which the mayor of Filer said indicates positive changes in attitudes.

Police officer Tarek Hassani was kept on the payroll, despite February's incident.  

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