Friday, December 21, 2007

Expert: Drug dogs wrong 48% of the time

Robert Guest at I Was the State posted an interview this week with an Austin-based consultant who reviews the performance of drug sniffing dogs. In his experience, most drug dogs are only accurate 52% of the time, meaning that 48% of the time dogs wrongfully give police probable cause for a search.

Why not just flip a coin to see if there's probable cause?

The consultant, Steven Nicely, believes that dog handling officers should be required to keep logs of their dogs' success rate and that dogs should be removed from service (or their handlers switched out, when that's the problem), when success rates fall below 80%. Nicely says that "most of the trainers and handlers I have met do not want to improve their dogs," and that officers should be prosecuted for official oppression when they don't keep records on drug dog success rates or ensure that dogs meet a minimum reliability threshold.

I knew that sniffer dogs don't perform well in crowds, but Nicely's assessment makes me wonder if sniffer dogs' use can be justified at all - I'm not sure a one in five rate of wrongful searches is acceptable, but surely a 48% error rate means the dogs' "expert" assessment constitutes little better than a guess.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've always disliked drug dogs and the idea behind them. They give me the creeps. The people willing to turn them on fellow humans and citizens give me the creeps, too.

The German Shepherds are probably the most alarming. There is an alarm, a warning, to free people at the sight of that. Don't they remind you of Historic law enforcement? Historic law enforcement that should be hated and despised.

I didn't think freedom loving American citizens would do things like that to other citizens. So cold and cruel.

To watch this beast rear it's head in the United States was a big surprise and a huge disappointment to me.

A people finding, gentle dog, and a dog that can smell explosives on, and in, things, not people, machines can do that without the sense of threat, is different from a dog that smells people's bodies, homes, and belongings for drugs and that attack and threaten people.

Forfeiture, seizure, confiscation, etc. laws also alarmed me in the same way.

Roy said...

Related to the topic, but worth knowing about. I have twice come across dogs who were strangers to me yet who identified me by my scent as a long-lost friend, someone who cared for them when they were puppies.

Dog people know about these things, and the giveaway is that the adult dog immediately acts like a months-old puppy, embarrassing the owner.

It's also worth knowing that the USA is one of the few countries in the world that believe a dog can track a human scent. Take our famous bloodhounds: if they are so reliable, why are they always kept on leashes -- afraid they will run off in different directions? Why do they need a handler to correct them when they go off on what he decides is a wrong track? And why a pack of hounds and not just one? The hounds don't get a majority rule, the handler decides which track they will follow.

Anonymous said...

Dogs are only as good as the handler that can "read" their alerts.

Many men owe their lives to our dogs. We trusted them and loved them.

Life Member
Vietnam Dog Handlers Association.

Anonymous said...

Roy TDCJ bloodhounds are not on a leash when they are tracking.Once the convict is found the leash's are put on.TDCJ runs 6 to 8 on a track if there are 6 not all six dogs are doing the same thing.There in groups of 2.You may only have two tracker's.But once they hit there track boy look out and everybody knows it.As for drug dogs I seen them sniff out more then I have not.

Anonymous said...

TDCJ Bloodhounds ARE on a leash when on a tracking mission. The Bloodhound is worked individually (only one dog) and the handler is on the ground. The bloodhound usually works a specific scent. TDCJ Tracking dogs are worked "off-leash" in a pack, With the dog handlers and others following them on horseback. The dog pack normally has at least 8 dogs assigned, for specific tasks. Once the "chase" has terminated the dogs are yoked in two's. There are instances where tracking dog packs and bloodhounds have been used to continue a track (not together but in conjuction with).

Roy: I have worked with working dogs in many countries other than the USA. All of these countries believe dogs can follow a specific scent.

Todd said...

I don't think this is an accurate report. A dog will also alert on the scent of drugs that used to be in that location. If someone smoked weed in the car, that smell would linger for a long time. Of course a dog would hit on that.

Should this be considered a faulty alert? I don't think so. The dog is alerting on the odor after all.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"Should this be considered a faulty alert?"

For purposes of determining on a scientific basis the accuracy rate of dogs in determining "probable cause," yes, definitely.

I like the idea of keeping logs and documenting success rates. If the dogs are so reliable, what's the harm in keeping the data?

Anonymous said...

Probable does not require that the drugs "more likely than not" be present.

JSN said...

What I thought he meant was that the current rate of 52% correct reports by the dog was too low because both the dogs and handlers were not properly trained and supervised. For the supervisor to evaluate performance they need among other things data on the outcome of a searches.

Maybe the solution to the problem is that supervisors need training as well.

I am not a dog trainer but I wonder how reliable a dog is who is tired, hungry, bored or mad at the handler.

Anonymous said...

"If a trained drug dog has the ability to detect the presence of drugs that are no longer physically present in the vehicle or container, but were present perhaps as long as 72 hours prior to the alert, such an ability serves to strengthen the argument that the dog has a superior sense of smell on which to rely to support a finding of probable cause. The possibility that the contraband may no longer be present in the vehicle does not compel the finding that there is no probable cause; for purposes of the probable cause analysis, we are concerned with probability, not certainty. The issue of a possible alert to a residual odor is a factor to be considered by the trial court, but it is not dispositive."

State v. Yeoumans,
--- P.3d ----, 2007 WL 3227296
(Idaho App. November 02, 2007) (quoting State v. Cabral, 159 Md.App. 354, 859 A.2d 285, 300 (Md.Ct.Spec.App.2004))

sunray's wench said...

@2.51pm ~ "I didn't think freedom loving American citizens would do things like that to other citizens. So cold and cruel."

Perhaps you should spend a couple of nights in a TDCJ Hotel, then you might revise what Americans do to one another on a regular basis.

As for the dogs, I will see if I can find any comparable figures for the UK Customs & Excise dogs.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

That's quite a court case, 10:09 - if we're to go by that logic, drug dogs get credit for finding drugs both when they do and DON'T find drugs. Convenient, huh?

Similarly, SCOTUS a couple of years ago decided that dog sniffs aren't a search because they're only looking for illegal substances. I think a lot of these drug-war rulings are bogus and based on strained logic and overhyped pseudoscience.

I don't think it contributes to credible PC for a dog to smell past scents because a) it's impossible to tell drugs formerly were there as opposed to a false positive, so that conclusion is only ever an assumption by the handler, and b) if a dog sniff may or may not indicate immediate possession of drugs, it calls into question the stated purpose of using them.

I'm not sure how I feel about an 80% hit rate, but getting it right just half the time is too low to be credible.

Anonymous said...

A properly trained dog team cannot nomally be beat. As a former handler and instructor of dog teams I cannot over-emphasize training. A training program must be continuous.

The most difficult part of training a dog team is getting the handler to understand what his dog is telling him. The handler must know how his dog alerts; when his dog is tired; when his dog is confused; when his dog is not feeling well.In my opinion the military has the best dog teams. In the military, as a dog handler, you and your dog had best be ready to execute your mission because a lot of your buddies are depending on you.

Outside the military,in civilian life, dog teams are mediocre to great. Many police departments select handlers on a volunteer and seniority basis and do not have qualified staff to select dog handlers. Additional benefits/incentives are given to the handlers. Translation: officers not suited for handling a dog are selected. non-experienced supervisors oversee the team. This scenerio equals a mediocre dog team.

Tracking dogs that work in a pack, such as TDCJ uses, are handled differently but one constant remains; the dog handler (I believe TDCJ now refers to them as Kennel Sergeants) must be able to "read" his dogs. He must train them continuously. He must also be an expert horseman. I have ridden with some of the best and can tell you they are just as dedicated as those I seved with in the military. The State should be ashamed of the salary they pay them and some of the ignorant people they have to work with. Oops, I'm getting off track.

Good "drug dogs" will alert on currency that has been stored with illegal drugs. They will alert on an "empty" vehicle trunk because the trunk priviously contained illegal drugs. Remember, the dogs work on the scent. "Drug dogs" are just another tool law enforcement uses. Don't blame the dog; look at the other end of the leash.

Retired 2004

Anonymous said...

Dogs relied upon by law enforcement and subsequently the courts should be 100% accurate in their work.

Scientific controlled testing should be performed on a frequent bases to determine the accuracy of the dog's ability to detect and report the presence of drug odors.

This testing should be done apart from the law enforcement activities of the dog but accurately simulate the real time work of the dog.

Records should be kept and any dog not 100% accurate should be retrained until they can succeed at the job.

After all, people's entire lives depend upon accuracy of the dog's work and the subsequent search. Once convicted of a crime, always a criminal is a result that should never tolerate abdicaton of our right to protection from an illegal search.

Anonymous said...

Christ Grits,
You don't like snitching, you don't like emergency searches, you don't like drug dogs, blah,blah,blah. Everything you post on your blog is undermining to law enforcement and to any system that deals with criminals (courts, prisons, etc). No matter what is done, it's wrong. Your hippie "love the world and peace" stance is nice to have, but unfortunately for the world, not all people are peace loving bloggers like you. There's a couple hundred thousand or million or two that would like to slit your throat and rape your wife. It looks like if the criminal justice system existed your way, we could only arrest those that turn themselves in!
Why don't you just post a pleading blog article to them- I'm sure they'll listen you you.
"Criminals of the world, please be nice and just wait in line at your local police station to turn yourselves in and recieve milk and cookies for your patience and good deed. Thanks! Best, Grits"
Seriously Grits! All you post is unsupportive and negative. Like what you say to your commenters- let's hear your pefect law enforcement proceedure handbook as well as one for the courts, prison, etc. In your opinion, you appear to have the perfect way to be a cop, judge and guard- lets hear it.

Anonymous said...

Good Post 1:08,Grits might delete you for telling the truth and you disagree with him.But I like Grits and deep down he likes me to.Every time I need a smile on my face I read Grits for Breakfest.LOVE,PEACE AND CRABS

Joe

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@1:08, I rarely post criticisms, just as in this case (record keeping, etc.), without simultaneously suggesting solutions to the problems cited. Proposing solutions isn't negative, unless you have a vested interest in the status quo. I don't. best,

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Oh, and Joe - you know exactly what your posts were deleted for, and it wasn't for disagreeing with me. I like you fine - I just informed you what the rules are around here and enforced them, that's all. best,

Anonymous said...

As a law enforcemnt officer and citizen of this country I believe that as a freedom loving citizen you should want the drugs off the streets due to the fact that crime also accompanies it. The thought that comes to my mind is if you don't break the law you have nothing to worry about in the first place. If you use drugs then you might have to take a chance of having your rights taken from you. A K-9 is going to alert on the odor of narcotics nothing else. That is what it is for. If there were once narcotics there but not anymore of course the dog is going to alert on that odor but even if there are no drugs found doesn't mean that the dog was wrong just mean's there weren't drugs there at the time. So 48% of the times the drugs are gone or the officer didn't find the drugs that were there. If a dog is wrong it just means it didn't alert on drugs when they were there.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

8:51 - why do you assume the dog is always right, when a) half the time they're not, and b) an expert says accuracy rates can and should be above 80%? Why do you think half the time is acceptable? Do you think the rights of the 48% subjected to fruitless, unnecessary searches without a warrant are just acceptable collateral damage?

As a "freedom loving" citizen, I want to protect the Constitution which embodies our freedoms. Your comments imply those rights should be cast aside when you're looking for drugs, and on that we must agree to disagree.

sunray's wench said...

Well I havent been able to find any comparable figures (yet), but I've been giving the subject some thought. I agree with 8.51 above, the dogs just alert the handler to the possibility of drugs having been present ~ I would be very surprised to find that anyone had been convicted of possession simply because a dog could smell weed on a bag even though no weed was present when the bag was searched.

Dogs are used to detect all kinds of substances (things I did find during my googling!) including money and explosives. If the dogs were not used, the probability must be very high that the substnces would not be detected at all, thus using the dogs and getting a 48% hit rate is well worth the effort taken to train the dogs in the first place, imo.

You could argue that because many murders remain unsolved, the hit rate for homicide squads is so low as to be ineffective. Dont hear anyone saying they should be disbanded though. They even pull in quite a few innocent people that are suspected, just like the dogs who smell a substance when the person is not carrying anything at that time.

As long as it is backed up with due process, I dont see why dogs should be discredited because they do the job they are required to do.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Nobody's arrested based on the dog sniff, sunray, the question is whether they would be subjected to an otherwise illegal search based on questionable dubious cause.

sunray's wench said...

These arent dogs out for a walk on a Sunday morning though are they, these are dogs working with their handlers at scenes of possible drug or other illegal activity. They already have a reason to be there because illegal activity is suspected. They are used at airports as well, routinely these days, as well as most other border controls. If the dog sits down and you have no drugs on you, then it will be obvious in a short amount of time, however convenient to you it may be. Are you saying you dont want to go through the occasional convenience this may cause, and you would rather people were able to get drugs through customs or into schools without possible detection by dogs? Drug dealers and traffickers, very rarely LOOK like drug dealers and traffickers, and the agencies need all the help they can get to find them.

Anonymous said...

Scott IMO, wants drugs legalized. I base this on his postings. It is very difficult to score any points/to discuss this issue, informants, and illegals with him. I do give him credit for allowing the issue to be posted on his Blog.

A good drug dog team only detects the odor of drugs. I remember the days when a magistrate would observe a demonstration with the dog finding drugs. He or she would issue search warrants based in part, on the demo. Great Probable Cause IMO, and the Judges.

Retired 2004

sunray's wench said...

* note to self: read through post before hitting submit!

I meant INconvenient.

Retired 2004 ~ it doesnt really matter what Scott personally wants. If dogs were that useless, I dont think the agencies wouldnt spend so much time and money training them.

Anonymous said...

Dogs are tools. Guns are tools. Snitches are tools. They are just like a literal "hammer" as a tool. You use it wrong and you'll get a hard smack of reality. None of those tools are relied on 100% to make a case. A hammer isn't the only tool used to build a house. Grits, law enforcement has and needs tools to catch the bad guys. We use what we have and do our best to use it right (there are always bad apples in any field however). I've even read some bad blog sites. Yes?
1:08 has a good point noticing that your posts are mainly anti-tools used for police and other systems. What exactly is all right for police to do in your opinion? Nothing?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Retired, frankly I've been in politics too long to worry about such utopian foolishness, debating what theoretical version of the perfect one might prefer in an ideal world we don't live in. Legalization means a different thing to every person who says it. That's why I write more about probation and county jail conditions than drug penalties. Let the Lege propose something, and I'll be for or agin it.

In this case, an expert who evaluates drug dogs (he's not anti-drug war, in other words), says that most drug dogs aren't very accurate and most dog handlers don't want to improve them. But since you can't "score points" against his arguments, you make assumptions about my motives for presenting them.

I do think the drug war has been an excuse for a significant repeal of historic Constitutional protections, and I'm not the first to say so. So when I see things like probable cause diminished to a dog's 50-50 guess, I cry foul. Naturally, as always, you may consider that to imply whatever you like.

And for Sunray who writes, "They already have a reason to be there because illegal activity is suspected."

That's not true at a traffic stop, of course - the reason they're being called is that there's otherwise no probable cause to search. That's one of those public assumptions that let's police get away with a lot.

We probably just disagree on this, but we have the right in this country to be free from unreasonable warrantless searches and seizures. Telling me, "Every time this dog sits down there's a 50-50 chance we find drugs" does not, on its face, sound reasonable to me.

Train the dogs to a higher standard, and my position might change, and I don't know what's the right threshold. This expert thinks it's 80%. But 50-50 is a coin flip, not "probable cause."

As for the last commenter saying I wouldn't allow the police to do anything, that's your own silly, absurd interpretation, but isn't based on anything I've written on this blog, including in this post. best to all,

sunray's wench said...

Scott, I would be worried if anyone based a change in policy on the say so of just one 'expert', not just on drugs but on any subject. We had an 'expert' here a few years ago, who gave evidence at several trials involving cot deaths vs 'shaken baby syndrome', and several women were imprisoned on the basis of his evidence. He has since been discredited, and the women have been freed. One expert, does not a solid case make.

I have also yet to see drug dogs accompanying cops on the beat as standard anywhere. If someone gets pulled over for a speeding ticket, why would a traffic cop have a drug dog and it's handler in the car with him?

Anonymous said...

I agree, you have been in politics to long.

The expert source cited is an Austin based consultant(owner and founder of a for profit K9 consulting company).

Viewed on his websites' "claim To Fame" ("About Us" Section): "In 1981 . . ., He was forced to resort to deadly force because the police dog HE (Caps added) was assigned failed to engage the suspect. The dog failed because IT (Caps added ) was poorly trained".

If his weapon failed to fire because It was dirty who would have been at fault? If the vehicle he was operating failed to arrive because it ran out of gas who would have been at fault?

He says he was a Marine Military Policeman from 73-79 and during that time period started handling a dog.

One can hope there is more to his story.

Retired 2004

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Sunray, what they do is call in the dog team to the traffic stop if they can't get permission to search.

Retired, I really can't tell what your beef is on this. Whatever this guy's background or my motives, why wouldn't it be a good thing to track success rates and retrain or retire those dog teams that don't perform? With respect to your senior status, your antipathy toward that idea seems pretty knee-jerk.

sunray's wench said...

OK, so is it just possible that a suspected drug dealer has been evading arrest for some time, and in desperation, the police department decide to stop him at any given opportunity, particularly when they suspect him to be transporting his illegal cargo. The easiest way to do this is to issue each traffic cop with the guy's licence plate number. They stop him, he panics and says 'no officer, you may not search my vehicle', to which they say 'then we assume you have something to hide, so we'll get the dogs in, sir'. Dog arrives. Drug dealer is found to have nothing in his car (whether the dog sniffs it out or not), and gets a speeding ticket anyway OR drug dealer is found to have several kilos of cocaine and a couple of thousand dollars under the back seat, and is escorted to a county jail of your choice.

I still dont see the problem with using the dogs, even if it's a 50/50 chance.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Sure, Sunray, it's possible that police become frustrated in their failures and thus make a barely-legal-if-at-all end run around the Fourth Amendment in order to use the dogs. It's done all the time, in fact. It's called a "pretext stop." Defenders of the Fourth Amendment don't have to like it, though!

kaptinemo said...

And, of course, there's the point that isn't being brought up: when a handler suspects that a car is 'dirty', without the dog providing an initial alert, and 'jumps' the dog to make it appear as if an alert had actually occurred. Please don't tell me that hasn't happened, just as you shouldn't try to say that innocent people aren't jailed and/or executed.

The false assumption that the animal's senses are infallible is part of popular myth. Unfortunately, our drug laws were also constructed from myths ('Negroes' high on cocaine cannot be dropped by .32 caliber bullets; Mexicans become raving maniacs after smoking pot, etc.) These mythologies are being used to throttle the traditional freedoms of Americans.

IMHO, arguing about the value of using this 'tool' or that in the maintenance of anti-drug efforts is more like arguing about the number of angels capable of residing on the heads of pins; the supposed necessity for doing so becomes immediately discredited when seen in light of the fact that this country got along just fine without those execrable laws for its' first century-and-some.

The DrugWar is a wholly unnecessary effort which enriches only the cartels and those who labor for The State's drug prohibition organs. Everybody else pays for it, particularly the machinery used to 'fight drugs', which usually winds up savaging those who foot the bills, courtesy of mauled civil rights. That some of that mauling comes from that 'machinery' having physical teeth belonging to a statistically unreliable sniffer dog goes without saying...

sunray's wench said...

See this is why I'm glad the UK doesnt have a constitution: sometimes, 'civil rights' get in the way of common sense.

Anonymous said...

sunray's wench said...
OK, so is it just possible that a suspected drug dealer has been evading arrest for some time, and in desperation, the police department decide to stop him at any given opportunity, particularly when they suspect him to be transporting his illegal cargo. The easiest way to do this is to issue each traffic cop with the guy's licence plate number. They stop him, he panics and says 'no officer, you may not search my vehicle', to which they say 'then we assume you have something to hide, so we'll get the dogs in, sir'. Dog arrives. Drug dealer is found to have nothing in his car (whether the dog sniffs it out or not), and gets a speeding ticket anyway OR drug dealer is found to have several kilos of cocaine and a couple of thousand dollars under the back seat, and is escorted to a county jail of your choice.

I still dont see the problem with using the dogs, even if it's a 50/50 chance.

-------

sunray's wench said...
See this is why I'm glad the UK doesnt have a constitution: sometimes, 'civil rights' get in the way of common sense.

12/24/2007 10:26:00 AM


Are you for real or just an idiot? I would suggest you move to the UK or go start your own Nazi Germany.

People like ou are the ones turning this country into a police state!

sunray's wench said...

@ 11.30am ~ I already LIVE in the UK, I was born here and I am English; my husband lives in Texas. If you are seriously equating the police's ability to search for ILLEGAL drugs with the Nazi regime, then I dont think it's my status as an idiot that will be in question.

kaptinemo said...

Madame, the unwarranted use of search dogs is precisely the sort of thing fascists (such as the Nazis) would do. Sneering at civil rights was another.

That your comment comes from a citizen of a democracy whose existence was once threatened by such a philosophy, and whose fighting men paid a terrible cost in preventing that from overtaking your country, I'd be tempted to say that, in your case, that sacrifice was in vain.

And in case you were wondering, I am a military veteran of the Cold War era; my father was at Normandy, his brother was 8th AAC, and all my uncles on Mum's side were in the Pacific Theater during the kamikaze attacks. None of us went through what we did, then or now, to see fascism sprout its' ugly roots here, hence my objection to the DrugWar, which is enabling just such a 'poison tree' to grow under the rubric - as always - of 'saving' the country from itself.

I personally do not need nor want such 'saving'...and I do not need the likes of public servants who seek to become public masters to attempt to do so 'for my own good' to the point it kills me...as such putative do-gooders have killed these people. Some of them as young as 6 months old; odd way to 'save' kids from drugs, now, isn't it?

It's said that Nature abhors a vacuum. The same goes for civil rights; when they disappear, it's usually because tyranny has supplanted them...and the vehicle most often used is fascism. A disease that no nation, (American 'exceptionalism' notwithstanding) is immune to.

sunray's wench said...

@ 6.46pm ~ Americans live under the ILLUSION of freedom. Where is your right to housing and healthcare? Where is your right to voice a political or religious opinion of any kind other than the majority without fear of abuse and attack? Where is your right to speak the truth without fear of being sued? The number of people who post on this blog alone who do not give even a screen name is indicative of the fear of speaking out in your country ~ and if that's freedom then you are welcome to it.

If you do not like the laws you live under in your country, then work with the system to change them. I am amazed at so many of you quarrelling about the use of sniffer dogs, when the bigger picture here is the damage that drug abuse does to everyone in the community. Do you think you are immune from that damage simply because you do not use illegal drugs yourself? Will you still think that when your home is burgled by someone wanting money for thier next fix? Will you still think that when your nice or nephew gets a 3-5 stretch for meth manufacturing? Will you still think that when your spouse is caught in the crossfire at a shopping mall when a drug deal goes bad?

The fact is, non-prescription drugs are illegal and anyone suspected of using, carrying or selling them should be aware that they risk prosecution. Stop blaming the police for doing their job, get your head out of your arse, and put your energies into making your community a safer place instead of whining about how inconvenient it is to be stopped occasionally.

Using dogs in random searches is absolutely no different to making everyone go through metal detectors and x-ray machines at airports, yet I dont hear any of you yelling about your human rights there. I have not broken any law, I do not carry banned items through airport security, yet I still with millions of others are suspected of doing so and have to go through the procedure. Show me how that is different to what you are griping about.

redgreen said...

What I smell here in the USA is tyranny and facism on the rise. Police tactical squads are kicking in the wrong doors and killing innocent people on a monthly basis. Go to Radley Balkos blog if in doubt. This current prohibition 2 is a gateway to tyranny that will come to an end only when the money runs out. Just as happened in 1933. The ONDCP/DEA is a jobs program for organized corporate fleecing of the treasury. The dogs may only be tools but so is anyone who believes in the war on drugs.

kaptinemo said...

"I am amazed at so many of you quarrelling about the use of sniffer dogs, when the bigger picture here is the damage that drug abuse does to everyone in the community.

Once again, there's a disconnect here, caused by an ideological retinal 'blind spot' that leads to that disconnect. Prohibitionists always point to the dust speck of drug abuse they see in the eyes of the drug law reform community, without acknowledging the 2x4 of the costs of drug prohibition sticking out of their own. That is the great disconnect, here. It's a failure to clearly see the cause that leads to the actions being complained about.

I shall endeavor to make it as clear as I can: Before the rise of Federal drug laws in the US in 1914, there were vanishingly few drug crimes. Why? Because the (yes, some of them dangerous and addictive) drugs were openly available to the addict for a mere pittance compared to their prices, today. Today's illicit drug prices are artificially inflated thanks to the 'risk tax' associated with drug prohibition, leading to their enormous profitability. No amount of obfuscation and deflection can remove this basic and historically verifiable economic dynamic. In short, when they were legal, they were cheap, and crime associated with their production and procurement was almost unheard of.

It was not until racial bigotry combined with an arrogantly self-imposed sense of moral superiority on the part of some so-called 'progressive' elements early in the last century combined to create the laws that have caused the problem. Thanks to what would today be described as 'liberals', the problem was made vastly worse than it ever could have been under the previous control regime, which actually did rather well.

Were their production legal, regulated and taxed once more, they would return to their actual value, on par with cigarettes and booze. There would be little to no incentive for illegal activity, as an opiate or cocaine addict could get a fix at a clinic or special store for several hundred times less the amount that must be paid an illegal drug dealer under drug prohibition.

Drug prohibition is the drug dealers meal ticket, thoughtlessly provided by those who continue to favor drug prohibition. Like as not, drug prohibitionists are the cartel's Siamese Twin, joined at the wallet. Remove all that, and you remove the 'necessity' for the machinery that infringes on people's rights...and in the case of the people in the link I provided, takes those often innocent lives.

As to the problems of personal drug abuse, I would submit that were those presently illicit drugs legal again, the problem would once more become a largely medical one to be handled by those best trained to deal with them, such as doctors and nurses, not police. After all, we don't expend trillions of dollars to prevent someone from drinking themselves to death, via alcohol; why should heroin or cocaine addicts rate so highly? Are their lives worth more than a 'juicer's?

kaptinemo said...

Oh, and I especially thank you for this:

"If you do not like the laws you live under in your country, then work with the system to change them."

That is precisely what drug law reformers have been attempting to do. Just one problem: a vested interest in the form of a bureaucracy has grown up to 'service' the drug prohibition industry, and it has its' lobbyists, too. The problem is those lobbyists are the bureaucrats, themselves. (Not to mention the industries that would be hurt by drug prohibition ending, which maintain a 'revolving door' arrangement with those same bureaucrats. Case in point: nearly all US 'DrugCzars' politick for random drug testing in the workplace, and after their 'service' have taken lucrative position with - surprise! surprise! - drug testing companies.

This obscenely incestuous relationship is not speculation, it is presently the subject of investigation by Congressional committees. But what is most obscene - and ultimately damaging to the democratic process - is the interference by those with that vested interest in the political process, and using the taxpayer's own hard-earned money to perform that interference...which is written into the ONDCP's charter. The effect this has upon such democratic efforts as referenda are obvious...and very dangerous to that democratic process.

In short, in the match up between drug law reformers and the anti-drug bureaucracy (which, I repeat, has access to billions of the taxpayer's own money to interfere with attempts at reform) progress in the field becomes stagnant. It is an unlevel playing field, tilted in favor of those whose meal tickets are directly threatened by change...and they know it quite well.

sunray's wench said...

Nice to see you at least have an alias Kaptinemo. You make good points, and I do see where you are coming from, but it still remains that those who use drugs cause themselves and their communities great harm. There are substances that are currently legal that do just as much damage, and I am not advocating further prohibition because to take every scrap of glue and hairspray off the shelves would be impractical.

I have never taken non-prescription drugs, but my husband's crime is drectly related to his misuse of solvents. That crime damaged a whole family and spread way into their community. I dont personally care if drugs are legalised or not, but I would never want anyone to suffer the way addicts families do, or addicts themselves.

If you use, and you think you have it under control, then good for you.

rage judicata said...

kaptinemo said...
That is precisely what drug law reformers have been attempting to do.


Most drug "reformers" just want it legalized, with little thought of real reform. They also happen to be those who are currently using, ironically enough.

I'm all for pot being legalized, but nothing harder. Many "reformers" are for a complete free-for-all when it comes to drugs, and so you will continue to lose and be thought of as wack-jobs.

KTF said...

ok folks speaking as a K9 law enforcement officer i can say most of us out here do keep good recors of training and searches and my dog is accurate 90+ perrcent of time. but it is all about having the amount of professionalisim and knowledge to do the job right..some of he ya hoos i see out there working dogs are idiots but most of use are well trained and profesional about it..as ar as acuracy is concerned you will never get a dog that is 100 percent accurate but who out thre is perfect?
the biggest cause fo a dog to miss odor is handler error and everyone will ake a mistake sometimes but most of us strive to improve ourselves and our dogs...ktf

ktf said...

also speaking as a K9 officer in talking about probable cause I never use the K9 alert by its self to establish my pc it is only another brick in the wall so to speak im usually on the verge of having pc to conduct the search before i ever deploy the dog. the dog is just anothr tool

Anonymous said...

"Sunray's Wench said: @ 6.46pm ~ Americans live under the ILLUSION of freedom. Where is your right to housing and healthcare? Where is your right to voice a political or religious opinion of any kind other than the majority without fear of abuse and attack? Where is your right to speak the truth without fear of being sued? The number of people who post on this blog alone who do not give even a screen name is indicative of the fear of speaking out in your country ~ and if that's freedom then you are welcome to it."

Sunray- you're so right about this comment it's not even funny. Illusion. HUGE illusion.

STEVE said...

As more records arrive the numbers sadly goes down. Currently an average of drug dogs reviewed is at 41% accuracy average.

Some make the arguement what about residual odor. Certianly, it exist. However, when certifications such as the NNDDA, USPCA, and the NAPWDA do not test for the probability of the dog responding to other odors, use true negative testing, or test for the "Clever Hans" effect how can you say the dog is responding because of residual odor. You have to show the there are no other likely elements that would induce a response before you start arguing it was residual odor.

Another factor that causes such a high rate of non productive responses is many so called trainer don't have a clue about behavior modificiation, and the basics of experimental psychology the foundation of drug dog training and testing.

I see handler after handler in field conditions rewarding their dog and not knowing 100% why. Who ever taught them to do is does not have a clue about things such as reinforcent contingency, adventitious reinforcement and its effect superstitious behavior. More disturbing is they don't even understand the schedules of reinforcement.

Drug dogs trainer correctly are a wonderful tool. Trained incorrectly they are aiding the drug problem not helping.

Anonymous said...

The posts indicating that this is somehow "junk science" miss the point entirely. It's important to make the distinction between dogs that are well-trained/handled and those that are not. The company who apparently conducted this study (http://www.k9consultantsofamerica.com/) indicates a faith in the drug-dog process, when it is administered properly; their own web site states that "[w]ell trained dogs are an asset to law enforcement. Poorly trained dog teams are a liability."