LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS PRAISE DRUG DOG DECISION 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."