Traditional police drug dogs being phased out

Local News

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — With the legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania cases are being thrown out, and it’s all because the drug dogs can’t tell the difference between legal and illegal drugs.
So if other illicit drugs are found after the marijuana there’s no probable cause.
And we discovered there isn’t a way to re-train these K-9 officers.

“As long as your dog is alerting on a legal drug that cannot be used for probable cars for a search warrant or a search.” Jim Walstrom, Owner of Keystone Police Canine Training said.

The beginning of the end for the traditional drug dog started back in 2012 when the state of Colorado legalized recreational marijuana.
The problem, drug dogs react the exact same way when they detect weed as they do when they detect heroine.

“Police canines that were imprinted with marijuana are now having to be retired because they could possibly alerted to marijuana when you’re trying to have them alert to another drug which is illegal.” Walstrom said.

So now with medicinal marijuana legal in PA, and the massive push to legalize it for recreational use, departments will soon have to start all over with new K9’s the cost is immense.

“The cost to train, procure the dog and train the dog is about $15,000 and that’s not counting equipment and vehicles and things like that.” Walstrom said.

So they obvious question…. why can’t these departments just re-train the current drug dogs?

“In my opinion you cant program that out of a dog if a dog is imprinted with an odor trying the program to d program that out of the dog i feel is going to make the dog less proficient in the other substances he is trying to find because you’re confusing him.” Walstrom said.

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