Tulsa Police Plan To Review Use Of K-9's After Recent Report

Thursday, September 26th 2019, 9:37 pm
By: Emory Bryan

The Tulsa Police Department plans to review how officers use dogs in making arrests after a report showed the department has an unusually high number of civilian injuries from dog bites.

The department has 17 dogs, including those used for drug and bomb searches. Researchers studying use of force in making arrests found that TPD allows dogs to bite suspects more often than some peer departments, which focus on searches and have officers subdue suspects.

Tulsa's Fraternal Order of Police pointed out the same research indicated a reduction in officer injuries when dogs are deployed, and that utilizing dogs sometimes prevent the use of lethal force.

"If that number is high because we're preventing individuals from being shot and potentially killed, then it's OK that's high. If it's high because we need to change policies or it's not positive, then, by all means, let's work on that and get that fixed," said Jerad Lindsey, the Chair of the FOP.

The FOP and the department have said they want to review the research and determine if the policy needs changing. Tulsa officers most often use a taser when it comes to force, but the canines are a close second. It's leading to civilian injuries 60 times more often than other methods - except a firearm.

The research comes out of a study commissioned by the department, presented to council Wednesday, that also showed no racial bias in arrests or use of force.