IMPD to update K9 Unit response procedures

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) announced forthcoming changes to the department’s K9 Unit that will tighten the criteria for K9 deployments and allow for more thorough and deliberate searches for potentially violent suspects. The draft Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is currently being reviewed by external experts. The new SOP was drafted following months of reviews of national best practices and consultations with subject matter experts.
“Amidst national and local conversations around policing, IMPD is listening to calls from our community and looking inward – making changes that are responsive to our neighbors’ requests and improve public safety,” said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor. “Our goal with these updates to is to change the way our officers think about K9 deployment and ultimately make search environments safer for both community members and officers.”
The new SOP will codify three criteria for K9 Unit callouts that will change the unit’s deployment to a strategy more similar to SWAT callouts. For a K9 team to be deployed:

  1. The suspect must be wanted for a felony, or, wanted for a misdemeanor but is reasonably believed to be armed with a deadly weapon
  2. An effective perimeter must be established around the area
  3. Incident command must be established by a supervisor

Also updated in the new SOP are deployment protocols. Current K9 search teams include one K9 officer with patrol officers assisting. Under the new SOP, K9 search teams will consist of three handlers and a K9 supervisor, all who have received higher levels of continuous training. These officers would now be equipped with a variety of less-lethal solutions to provide more options for apprehensions of suspects with minimal force. Officers will also be equipped with additional body armor, enabling them to safely conduct more thorough and deliberate searches for suspects wanted for violent crimes or who are suspected of being armed.
Other changes include the removal of K9 teams from vehicle pursuits, and a new model of shift coverage that is currently being implemented.

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