RULE 004.00.20-007 - AR 412 Use of Canine Teams in Aggression and Protection Rules

RULE 004.00.20-007. AR 412 Use of Canine Teams in Aggression and Protection Rules


It shall be the policy of the Department of Correction to allow the utilization of canine teams (excluding tracking dogs) as an element of force applied to control situations where no alternative method would be as effective. This program will provide Unit Wardens/Center Supervisors with an effective supplemental security measure for use in specific situations within the confines of the Arkansas Department of Correction's authority/control.


The Department uses several types of specially trained dogs throughout the units. The aggression and protection dogs are trained to work with the handler to function as a team and may be used to either supplement regular security personnel and equipment or to provide an alternative to less effective methods. The term "dog handler" is identified as a trained employee of ADC.

A. Uses of Canine Teams in Aggression and Protection Roles

There are several uses for dogs in aggression and protection roles. These fall into four general areas:

1. Patrol or Escort;

2. On-Leash Passive Aggression;

3. On-Leash Active Aggression; and

4. Off-Leash Active Aggression.

The first two areas are primarily used as defensive measures or to provide a show of force in certain situations and the latter two areas are those in which the dogs are used as applied force.

B. Functions of Canine Teams in Aggression and Protection Roles

1. Patrol or Escort

The canine team may be used to supplement normal security escort for high security risk inmates or violent/aggressive inmates. The team may also be used to patrol the interior, exterior or perimeter of the unit. The presence of the canine team in these situations provides supplemental protection for staff and inmates and offers an effective alternative to potentially more dangerous methods of force.

2. On-Leash Passive Aggression

The dog handler may use the dog as a show of force by allowing the dog to became agitated although not allowing any physical contact. This is a particularly useful tool in breaking up combatants or crowds and allows security officers to regain control of a situation promptly. This technique can also be applied to isolate an individual or as a defensive measure for correctional staff.

3. On-Leash Active Aggression

This represents the most common use of the dogs as actual applied force. In this his role, the dog is allowed to seize the target individual and hold him until security staff can apply restraints or the inmate is otherwise brought under control. The dog handler must make the decision of when to commit the dog to a bite based upon the situation. Normally this use of the dogs will be limited to situations where time or circumstances do not allow other means of force to be as effective.

4. Off-Leash Active Aggression

This activity is primarily used in situations where the handler's safety would be jeopardized or in cases where the dog's effectiveness would be hindered by a leash. Typical examples of this would be armed inmates or inmates fleeing. The use of canine team dogs can substantially reduce the danger to correctional officers in situations where inmates occupy an easily defensible location by providing effective response to the situation without exposing the officers unnecessarily. Inmates attempting to escape or flee from an area can be easily captured by the dogs and held until security staff can restrain the inmate.

C. Procedures for Deployment of Canine Teams

The Unit Warden/Center Supervisor or in his/her absence the Assistant Warden/designee is authorized to request canine teams either as a precautionary move or in response to an emergency situation. In all cases, the following procedures will apply.

1. Routine Requests

Requests for canine teams to perform routine escort or patrol functions will be made by the Unit Warden/Center Supervisor, Assistant Warden or his/her designee by contacting the appropriate Assistant Director during normal duty hours. The requesting unit/center will be required to provide transportation for the dog team unless other arrangements are made with the Assistant Director. Normally these requests will be made at least three (3) days in advance of the desired use of the canine team.

2. Emergency Requests

The canine teams are available for prompt response in any emergency situation. The Unit Warden/Center Supervisor/Assistant Warden/designee will request use of the team from the appropriate Assistant Director or the Director. Transportation for the canine team will be arranged at the time of the request.

a. Upon the arrival of the canine team the Unit Warden/Center Supervisor/Assistant Warden/designee, will meet with the handler and brief him/her on the current situation. This briefing should include showing the handler the area (when practicable) or providing detailed diagrams or description of the area.

b. After analyzing the situation, the dog handler will make recommendations to the Unit Warden/Center Supervisor/Assistant Warden/designee regarding the utilization of the dogs in the situation.

c. If the Unit Warden/Center Supervisor/designee determines that use of the dogs would be appropriate, he/she will authorize the dog handler to deploy the dog team.

d. Once the decision to use the dogs is made and authorized by the Unit Warden/Center Supervisor/designee, the dogs will be brought into the area and deployed as directed

e. No one will enter the area without authorization by the Unit Warden/Center Supervisor/designee once the dogs are deployed.

f. Throughout the time the dogs are being used, the dog handler and Unit Warden/Center Supervisor, or designee, will determine the most appropriate method of using the dogs and direct all activities surrounding the dogs.

g. Once the situation is under control, the dogs will be removed from the area and unit security will assume control.

h. All inmates coming in physical contact with the dogs will be examined by the ADC medical staff, and will receive treatment for any injuries immediately after the incident.

3. Requests From Other Law Officials

Requests for canine teams to perform in routine and emergency situations for other law officials will be made through the appropriate Assistant Director and/or the Director. The same procedures used in cases where these requests were made by a Unit Warden/Center Supervisor/designee will be used by other law officials.

4. Documentation of Incident

All deployments of the canine team will be documented on the Form 005/409 by all employees involved. The dog handler will furnish the Unit Warden/Center Supervisor/designee a Form 501/409 upon completion of the assignment.

D. Training and Maintenance Requirements

Each appropriate Unit Warden will ensure the operational capability of the Canine Unit is maintained through thorough and continuous training of dogs and handlers.

1. Handler Training

All dog handlers will receive the following training in addition to the required training for correctional officers:

a. Initial Training

Prior to serving in an operational capacity, each handler must receive a minimum of:

(1) 20 hours of classroom and/or on the job training in dog handling techniques; and

(2) 20 hours of actual hands-on training with the dogs in various scenarios.

b. Continuing Training

Each handler will receive at least five (5) hours of supervised training with the dogs each week in order to maintain certification.

2. No dog or handler will be used in operational situations unless certified as properly trained by the Canine Unit Supervisor.

3. Dog Training

a. All aggression and protection dogs must receive at least 60 hours of training prior to becoming eligible for evaluation by the Canine Unit Supervisor for certification.

b. Dogs assigned to aggression and protection roles must receive at least five (5) hours of training per week in order to maintain certification by the Canine Unit Supervisor.

4. Health Precautions - Dog and Handler

The potential of serious injury exists when canine aggression procedures are implemented; whether to an identified target or bystander. To protect the state's interest and all parties involved, each dog assigned to a canine aggression/protection team will be required to have, minimally, an annual physical examination and receive appropriate vaccinations; i.e. rabies. Records attesting to this will be kept on each dog throughout the duration of his/her service; microfilmed for permanent record at close of service.

Board Approval Date: 11/22/88

Effective Date: 1/6/89

(Adopted by Arkansas Register Volume MMXXI Number 7, Effective 1/6/1989)

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