53% of American households own dogs, according to recent statistics. If you have ever owned a pet before, you likely know that they become a part of your family. When officers approach a home, it is likely that the owners will have a dog – sometimes the dog is friendly, but other times not. Recent dog encounters have turned deadly, leaving law enforcement agencies with huge lawsuits that have gone over $1 million.
According to a local news source out of Florida, a state embroiled in several dog encounters gone wrong over the past few years and Florida is not one of the only six states in the country require law enforcement officers to be trained in dealing with dogs. January 2022, a Miami-Dade police officer shot a dog 7 times and the agency now faces a hefty lawsuit by the dog’s owner. Additionally, a lawsuit from 2019 has reached $750,000 after a woman’s dog was killed by a SWAT team in St. Louis.
A trifecta program that has existed for years may be part of the solution to this ongoing problem around the country. Law Enforcement Dog Encounters Training (LEDET) was developed in a partnership with the National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse and the National Sheriff’s Association. Jim Crosby, member of NLECAA and dog behavior expert, authored an 8-hour class, a DOJ approved Toolkit available for download for free and to be used alongside of six VirTra simulation scenarios that include real actors and dogs.
The following items are available as resources and could be used together or separately:
The video below shows Harford County, MD officers learning from educational graphics and VirTra’s high-quality video scenarios that include dogs. Some scenarios show a property alarm response where a responding officer encounters a dog, and others have a traffic stop where a dog is in the car with the subject.
Remember, current VirTra customers have these scenarios loaded onto their simulators already. If you want to learn more about the LEDET program, download resources or schedule a demonstration here.
Alexandria, VA. — June 5, 2018 — The National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse (NLECAA), its parent organization, the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA), and VirTra, Inc. (Nasdaq: VTSI) today announced the Law Enforcement Dog Encounters Training (LEDET) focused on police training for dog encounters. LEDET is the first of its kind training program and includes structured coursework on engaging and deescalating dog encounters, along with simulation training with VirTra’s immersive, high-definition video training system. Together, the new training protocols help law enforcement officers learn safe interactions with domestic dogs. The LEDET program is a culmination of two years of collaboration between the National Sheriffs’ Association and law enforcement executives, legal consultants, and behavior experts to develop a gold standard for protecting officers, pets, and the public.
An agency-wide demonstration of the scenario-based trainings will be given by the Harford County (Maryland) Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday, June 6, following a press conference at 10:30 a.m. ET. The Sheriff’s Office is located at 1305 Pulaski Highway, Edgewood, MD.
The LEDET scenario package will be officially rolled out in VirTra’s booth at the 2018 National Sheriffs’ Association Annual Education and Technology Expo, June 15-19 in New Orleans, LA.
Visit the LEDET landing page to learn more and schedule a time to meet with VirTra at the NSA Conference.
Additional pilot programs are scheduled to occur in Orange County, Florida, and Oakland County, Michigan.
The LEDET program is based on canine behavior science paired with advanced officer safety measures. The combination will enable officers to make compassionate, safe decisions when interacting with pets under stressful circumstances. The course includes interactive scenarios where officers and dogs are placed in common situations. Using VirTra’s branched decision-making technology, these interactions will enable officers to experience conflict and make choices in real-time. The course focuses on the use of less- and non-lethal methods of keeping officers, the public, and pets safe during contact.
“LEDET is unique because it is the first dog training course developed by law enforcement officers, for law enforcement officers,” said Sheriff Harold Eavenson of Rockwall, Texas and President of the National Sheriffs’ Association. “Our subject matter experts are the most experienced consultants in the animal, law enforcement and legal fields when it comes to these kinds of cases and have guided policy and accountability using a combination of extensive canine behavior training and law enforcement experience. This has given us the perspective of working street cops coupled with cutting edge behavioral science and extensive experience with truly dangerous dogs.”
“Law enforcement officers want to handle their calls safely and go home at the end of their shift, while not causing any needless harm,” said John Thompson, Deputy Executive Director of the NSA. “This course will give them much needed tools to recognize and address possible conflict with dogs instead of simply shooting an animal.”
This state of the art program will be complementary to the full Law Enforcement Dog Encounters Training (LEDET) course in development by NLECAA in coordination with the Department of Justice’s COPS Office. This is the only canine encounter course endorsed by the National Sheriffs’ Association.
“Many conflicts can be defused or even avoided by understanding dog behavior,” said James Crosby, Director, Canine Encounters Training, NCLEAA. “Keeping officers and pets safe is the focus of the course. Large liability awards have resulted from officers needlessly using lethal force. We aim to keep the officers safe while reducing those deadly conflicts.”
The content package includes five interactive scenarios and an additional training module that covers the basics of canine behavior. All six scenarios/modules are available in VirTra’s content library for the V-300™ training simulator, and four modules are available for the V-180™ and V-100™ training simulators. The complementary training program is under final review, with an anticipated release later this year.
The National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse was established by the National Sheriffs’ Association to provide law enforcement officers information on the realities of animal abuse and to promote their proactive involvement in the enforcement of animal abuse laws in their communities. Through its partners, the Center serves as an information clearinghouse and forum for law enforcement on the growing problem of animal abuse and its link to other types of crimes, including violence against humans. Additionally, the Center seeks to improve officer safety in dog encounters through continuing education and training.
About National Sheriffs’ Association
The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) is one of the largest associations of law enforcement professionals in the United States, representing more than 3,000 elected sheriffs across the nation, and a total membership of more than 20,000. NSA is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the level of professionalism among sheriffs, their deputies, and others in the field of criminal justice and public safety. Throughout its 78-year history, NSA has served as an information clearinghouse for sheriffs, deputies, chiefs of police, other law enforcement professionals, state governments and the federal government.
VirTra is a global provider of training simulators for the law enforcement, military, educational and commercial markets. The Company’s patented technologies, software and scenarios provide intense training for de-escalation, judgmental use-of-force, marksmanship and related training that mimics real world situations. VirTra’s mission is to save and improve lives worldwide through realistic and highly-effective virtual reality and simulator technology. Learn more about the company at www.VirTra.com.
National Sheriff’s Association
Deputy Executive Director / COO
James Crosby M.S., CBCC-KA
Director, Canine Encounters Training
VirTra – Media Relations
VirTra – Investor Relations