Police and Military Dogs: Criminal Detection, Forensic Evidence, and Judicial Admissibility, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Police and Military Dogs

Criminal Detection, Forensic Evidence, and Judicial Admissibility, 1st Edition

By John Ensminger

CRC Press

360 pages | 16 B/W Illus.

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It is essential that those in the criminal justice system understand the tasks that police dogs perform and the evidence that their work produces. Police and Military Dogs: Criminal Detection, Forensic Evidence, and Judicial Admissibility examines the use of police and military dogs for a wide variety of functions and explores canine biology and behavior as it applies to police work.

The book begins with an overview of the changes that have occurred in the field in the past four decades as discoveries have been made about canine capabilities. The author examines how a canine handler’s work with a skilled police dog can

affect the subsequent investigation and prosecution of the crime. He discusses optimal procedures for finding and processing evidence and describes the boundaries of admissibility of evidence produced by police dogs. The book examines the

many diverse detection functions police dogs are being trained to perform, ranging from cadaver detection to the discovery of explosives. It also describes the use of dogs to apprehend criminals and in search and rescue operations.

Written for a wide audience including canine handlers, forensic scientists, attorneys, and the judiciary, this volume covers topics pertinent to all aspects of the police dog in contemporary law enforcement.


"A solid, hands-on, quick reference source for K9 Officers to use as guidance in their normal day to day cases. Also, an excellent reference tool for state and district attorneys to use when researching case law. Truly exceptional!"

—Detective Jan Scofield, Master Trainer, North American Police Work Dog Association; National Instructor, National Narcotic Detector Dog Association

"This book is an outstanding compilation of legal information. Well done. I've been training dogs since 1988 and by far this is the best reference book relating to dog law that I've ever seen. I think every K9 handler should have a copy of this book."

—Jonni Joyce, Nationally Known Master Trainer of Police and Search and Rescue Dogs, author of Jonni Joyce News and Commentary

"A must for all police and military law enforcement personnel and prosecutors. The book illustrates the fundamentals of working dogs on search for a scent that may be looking for a person or drugs. The book is very detailed in explaining the laws of search and seizure and how and what motivates the dog to work. I strongly recommend this book to all law enforcement officers, military police, and all county and state prosecutors. If you want to know how and why a dog works, here is the book. If you are a law enforcement officer you have to read this!"

—Detective Mike Drake, Kentucky State Trooper (Ret.), Pennyrile (Kentucky Regional) Narcotics Task Force, Renowned for Having Dismantled More Than 500 Meth Labs

"The most comprehensive summary of law enforcement K9 legal and scientific information I have ever seen. Every handler, prosecutor, and judge should read it. Providing K9 support in several homicides referenced in the book, it certainly brings to light many aspects of K9 issues of which everyone should be aware. Even with all the other support materials available for law enforcement K9, having faced one of the best K9 defense experts and coming out victorious as we did, our preparation would have been much easier for me and the prosecutor with a reference tool like Police and Military Dogs."

—Corporal Jim DeCamp, Clermont County, Ohio, Sheriff’s Department, K-9 Unit Supervisor

"If you’ve ever wondered about police protocols, forensic science and rigorous legal scrutiny associated with police and military K-9 work, you’ll find the answer inside this 333-page volume. This is not training manual or procedural guide, rather a detailed overview of challenges involved in sniffs involving vehicles, luggage, transportation facilities, hotels, mail and packages, storage areas, cargo and commercial spaces, residences, currency and schools, etc. And then there are the demands of explosives, landmine, bioweapons, accelerant and cadaver detection. Ambitious and complex, Police and Military Dogs leaves the reader with a greater appreciation of the demands and expertise expected of these handler-dog teams not only in the field but also inside the judicial environment, too."

—Ranny Green, Seattle Kennel Club

Table of Contents

Police and Military Dogs in the Twenty-First Century

Development of Police and Military Dog Functions

Canine Biology and Behavior

Tracking, Trailing, and Scent Identification

History and Judicial Acceptance of Tracking and Trailing Evidence

Scientific Analysis of Tracking, Trailing, and Scent Identification; John J. Ensminger and Tadeusz Jezierski

Tracking and Trailing in Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions

Judicial Admissibility of Scent Lineup Evidence

Scent Lineups in Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions; John J. Ensminger and Tadeusz Jezierski

Detection Functions

Judicial Admissibility of Canine Detection Evidence

Scientific Issues in Detection Functions

Automobile Sniffs

Sniffs of Luggage, Transportation Facilities, and Hotels

Mail and Package Sniffs

Sniffs of Storage Areas, Cargo, and Commercial Spaces

Residential Sniffs

Currency Sniffs

School Sniffs; John J. Ensminger and L.E. Papet

Explosives, Landmine, and Bioweapons Detection; John J. Ensminger, John Grubbs, and L.E. Papet

Accelerant Detection Dogs

Cadaver Dogs; John J. Ensminger and L.E. Papet

Apprehension and Rescue Functions

Suspect Apprehension and Bite Issues

Search and Rescue Dogs


Appendix A: US Police Canine Associations

Appendix B: Bibliography

Appendix C: Federal and State Cases Cited



About the Author

John J. Ensminger, a lawyer practicing in New York, has written extensively on tax and financial issues, and more recently on legal, scientific and judicial procedures affecting the functions, rights and protection of specially trained dogs. His most current research focuses on canine scent identification and criminal prosecution applications. His publications include: Service and Therapy Dogs in American Society: Science, Law and the Evolution of Canine Caregivers; Money Laundering, Terrorism, and Financial Institutions;theUSA Patriot Act Monitor. Contributions on canine legal issues have appeared in the Journal of Animal Law, GP Solo: ABA General Practice and Tax Notes. He received his BA from the University of California at Berkeley in zoology and marine biology, and earned his JD and LLM degrees from Hastings College of the Law, and New York University School of Law.


John G. Grubbs, president of United States Bomb Dogs, Inc., was a law enforcement officer for 20 years with the Explosives Detection Canine Unit of the U.S. Secret Service, in which capacity he guarded U.S. presidents, vice presidents, and world leaders.

Tadeusz Jezierski, Ph.D., head of the Department of Animal Behavior at the Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding of the Polish Academy of Science, has published 65 scientific papers, including studies on canine scent detection.

L.E. Papet, Executive Director of K9 Resources, LLC, in Ohio, who has developed 170 protocols for training, testing, and deploying canine units.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Forensic Science
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Terrorism
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology