Colorado Court Complicates Life For Drug-Sniffing Dogs

The role of police dogs in Colorado to find drugs is changing. The state’s Supreme Court ruled last week that a dog trained to alert to marijuana cannot be used before an officer establishes probable cause. The ruling was over a 2015 arrest where a police dog alerted officers that drugs were inside a suspicious truck. Officers found drugs, a meth pipe and some residue. And the driver was convicted on two drug possession charges.

But the driver’s attorney appealed the sentence, arguing the search was illegal because the police dog could have been alerting officers to the presence of a legal amount of marijuana. And officers otherwise did not have enough evidence to search the truck. The court agreed.

Read the interview with Brian Laas, a police officer in Arvada, Colo., and the president of the Colorado Police K-9 Association.

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