A police canine’s primary function has been and always will be that of a locating tool. It may be necessary in some cases to use the canine to physically apprehend a subject who is either running or hiding in an area that would put Deputies at risk by physically apprehending them themselves. In any circumstance, using a canine to apprehend a person is an option handlers only use when it is necessary.
Whenever a situation arises where a canine may be needed to physically apprehend a subject the canine handler has many things they must consider. The dog must be deployed within departmental guidelines and within current case law. It is the responsibility of the handler to know these two things inside and out because the decision to use a canine to apprehend someone must be made within seconds more often than not.
Handlers make every attempt to apprehend someone without having the canine bite them. Every year the canine detail is responsible for hundreds of apprehensions and only a small percentage of those apprehensions end with the canine biting a suspect. Any time a canine is used during the course of the handler’s duties is considered a deployment. Any time the canine locates someone that is considered an apprehension.