Law Enforcement Officers praise drug dog ruling

By Alfa · Feb 7, 2005 · ·
  1. Alfa

    Arizona law enforcement agencies hailed a U.S Supreme Court ruling Monday
    allowing the use of drug sniffing dogs during a traffic stop even if their
    is no reason to suspect narcotics.

    Officers say the ruling supports a tool they already use to combat illegal
    drug trafficking.

    Criminal defense attorneys say the ruling provides too much power for
    police and further erodes Fourth Amendment rights barring unreasonable
    searches and seizures.

    "We are happy the decision came out the way it did because we have a major
    drug problem in our society and most drugs are transported in vehicles and
    hidden in vehicles," Mesa police detective Bryan Soller, the state
    president of the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police. "The key is it has to
    be a legal traffic stop and we don't detain the person longer than the
    traffic stop. You are not going to see a major change in the way police
    work is done."

    Phoenix civil rights attorney Joe Zebas said the ruling removes the
    officers' need for probable cause for a dog sniffing search and infringes
    on a person's right to privacy and right from an unreasonable search.

    "It can lead to future rights being eliminated or being reduced and more
    expansive searches," Zebas said. "I'm scared of it. It potentially leads to
    a slippery slope."

    The 6-2 ruling allows officers to call a police dog to a legal traffic stop
    to conduct a sweep of the car as long as it occurs within the same amount
    of time as a routine traffic stop, estimated between 10 to 30 minutes.

    Phoenix police Lt. Vince Piano, who oversees the investigative unit of the
    agency's drug enforcement bureau, said his agency pulls over far too many
    people to have the decision make a real difference. He says the dogs would
    only be used if there was real suspicion.

    The Supreme Court sided with the Illinois State Trooper Daniel Gillette,
    who stopped Roy Caballes in 1998 for driving 6 miles over the speed limit.
    Caballes lawfully produced his driver's license, but troopers brought over
    a drug dog when Caballes appeared nervous.

    Caballes argued the Fourth Amendment protects motorists from searches such
    as dog sniffing, but Justice John Paul Stevens disagreed, reasoning that
    the privacy intrusion was minimal.

    "The dog sniff was performed on the exterior of respondent's car while he
    was lawfully seized for a traffic violation," Stevens wrote.

    In a dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the use of drug dogs will
    make routine traffic stops more "adversarial." She was joined in her
    dissent in part by Justice David H. Souter.

    "Injecting such animal into a routine traffic stop changes the character of
    the encounter between the police and the motorist. The stop becomes
    broader, more adversarial and (in at least some cases) longer," she wrote.

    Arizona Department of Public Safety Lt. Mike Corbin, who oversees the
    department's canine unit, said DPS rarely used sniff dogs during routine
    traffic stops.

    'It (Monday's decision) just gives us more credibility of what we are doing
    and backs us up" Corbin said. "We don't run our dogs on vehicles unless we
    have a reason to do so. Doing indiscriminate searches would use up a whole
    lot of time on a lot of cars we don't need to search."

    Monday's Supreme Court ruling should have little affect in Gilbert other
    than affirming their current practice of using the dogs without probable
    cause on a limited basis.

    When it comes to traffic stops, Gilbert police follow strict guidelines for
    using the dogs.

    "We can't hold the person there beyond the normal limits of a traffic
    stop," Gilbert police officer Greg Thomas said.

    Pinal County Sheriff Roger Vanderpool said he thinks the decision is a good
    for law enforcement.

    "I think it is a good thing for the good guys. It just reaffirms the way we
    were operating and that a sniff of the outside of the vehicle in a public
    place wasn't unreasonable," Vanderpool saidPhoenix criminal defense
    attorney Greg Parzych agrees the ruling is "good news" for police but not
    for individual rights.

    "If you get stopped tonight and canine unit is in the area they can sniff
    your car because you were driving six miles over the speed limit," he said.
    "And if there is a false positive, you are going to be there a lot longer
    than a ticket and the search becomes much more intrusive."

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  1. esoteric_explorer

    "We are happy the decision came out the way it did because we have a major authority complex
    drug problem in our society and most drugs are transported in vehicles and
    hidden in vehicles," Mesa police detective Bryan Soller, the state
    president of the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police. "The key is it has to
    look like a legal traffic stop and we don't detain the person longer than it takes us to figure out a reason to throw him in jail.
    You are going to see a major change in the way "police" work is done."

    Hidden subtext in the above quote highlighted in bold text for convenience

    Why don't we just get rid of that whole fourth amendment thing anyway? All it does is make it harder for the police to do their job, which apparently now entails stopping random citizens for nothing more than minor traffic violations, and then actively trying to find a reason to throw them in jail. Because finding ways around the laws in order to strip citizens of basic privacy is okay if it's for our own good, right? You know, Protect And Serve.

  2. Joe Duffy

    That would depend on who you think the good guys are.
  3. caduceus

    I stipulated think the best course of action when dealing with a LEO merely involves refusing to consent to searches whether you are clean or not. Moreover, one should always be ready to ask whether one is free to go. Lastly, and this is just as important as anything else, you have a right to remain silent and a right to consult with an attorney-- do not be afraid to use these rights with impunity.
  4. Spicemeister
    Very stupid, patrolling the streets should be for SAFETY of citizens, and only that, speeding blah blah blah, but what someone has in their OWN car really shouldnt matter as it affects nobody else. now being on a substance can be an issue, depending what it is. but pulling someone over for a traffic violation shouldnt entitle a cop a.k.a a human being to completely fuck over another human being just because they have something in their car. i hate cops, they suck and they are above the law, which i believe is the main reason most people become cops, other than just to be a goddamn dickhead.
  5. Aminatrix
    This decision affects EVERYONE in the USA, am I correct? US Supreme Court?

    This could be bad, especially if you get pulled over by a K-9 unit, they will search everytime!

    Very very bad, the response needs to be to come up with containers that do not allow any molecules to escape.

    Ugh, we lose more freedoms every day -.- (ya i know, old news, but the point is valid today)
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