Patrol dogs in schools for Active Shooter situations….NO, just NO!!!

Imagine this. It is a school day. You just sent your child off to school, and you have settled in to your daily routine. While having your morning coffee and listening to the news, you see a “Breaking News” item. This catches your attention and you tune in closer. There has been a school shooting at YOUR child’s school. Your mind is reeling. Where is my child? Is he safe? Then the phone rings, and the caller asks you to come to the hospital. Your child is there!

Patrol dogs being used in schools for an active shooter situation is a very bad idea! Too many things can go wrong by putting dogs into a chaotic situation with gunfire. A child could be bitten by that dog, who is intended to search out the ‘bad guy.’ Innocent kids trying to flee for their lives will be targeted by a dog! These dogs tend to key on movement, and kids running and screaming through the halls, will get the dog’s attention.

And do not even get me started on the use of “cloned” dogs for this. For starters, cloning is still a relatively new science, and there is no scientific evidence to show that it will work effectively, and safely.

Dogs can, and should be used in schools, along with the School Resource Officers (SROs), who are already there. The dog team should be used in searches of personnel, lockers, rooms, buildings, and parking lots, for the detection of firearms or explosives. That is a much better, and safer preventative, than to bring in patrol dogs, who are trained to BITE the ‘bad guy.’ So what happens when the dog locates the room where the ‘bad guy’ is, and he charges in for the bite? But he bites the kid(s) trying to flee, rather than the shooter. It can happen, and it has! Patrol dogs key on movement, and in a chaotic situation, like an active shooter situation, an innocent is very likely to be bitten. And that handler had better be in close proximity to control his dog!!

In my very experienced opinion, I do not believe that this guy has thought this out very well. His heart is in the right place, trying to come up with a solution, but those of us in this profession, know all too well of the risks that can happen, and just how fast this can go wrong.

I am working on a solution myself, here in our community, which is for my dog and I to be used for random searches in schools. My dog is trained in firearms detection, as well as tracking. I got this idea when I was working down at the DoD Dog school, where the US Army and the Marine Corps had a program where dogs were used to detect explosives, then track the suspect who laid those explosives. We operate on much the same premise, though the tracking portion is not always a viable option.

So here is this very controversial article. Also, the article states that this man is a former Navy Seal, but it does not give any background information as to his dog handling experience or education. Take it for what it is. You be the judge!