Mounties have laid down the rules handlers must follow when training dogs on private and commercial property.
The RCMP developed a national policy regarding the use of private and commercial properties following a complaint made to B.C. Civil Liberties Association.
The policy is now Canada-wide and was formed after a police training incident in Lantzville May 25, when police dog handlers on a tracking exercise ran through private yards on Rossiter Road.
The action sparked a complaint to the media and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association by Lantzville resident Roger Smith who arrived home to see several police officers and a dog running through his yard.
The new national policy says dog handlers must contact and get permission from property owners before entering and using property for training and give advance notice of a training session if required.
Handlers must annually confirm with property owners that police have their continued support to conduct training on those private properties.
Police must also wear their full uniforms when conducting training.
Robert Holmes, BCCLA president, praised the new RCMP policy in a press release and said it clearly states the law and the rules RCMP dog trainers are obliged to work to work within.
He also said the policy minimizes risks to the public and police dogs.
Smith said he is pleased there is now a firm national policy in place.
“I felt really good about it,” he said. “I never expected any kind of response like that.”
He also said the possibility of police using his property for training in the future is not out of the question.
“It’s not out of the question, no, but I do have a dog, so he’s the usual dog and it’s his property, so it would have to be very carefully planned,” he said. “I would sooner that he was not here, but somewhere else, when it happened.”
Having a consistent set policy simply makes sense for all parties involved, said Smith.
“I’ve signed off on it,” he said. “I was pleased.”