St. Paul Police Department to Make Policy Changes Regarding K-9 Units

June 04, 2018 06:53 PM

The St. Paul Police Department is making changes to when its K-9 officers can be used to catch suspects. This comes after two high profile cases where police dogs bit and seriously hurt innocent people. 

It was the police body cam video that gave chills to those who watched it. 

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RELATED: Fridley Police Reviewing K-9 Program After Dog Bites Officer

Desiree Collins screaming, as an SPPD K-9 is locked onto her right arm. 

The incident happened last September. Authorities said the dog's intended targets were two suspected home burglars.

Last March, another SPPD police dog bit Frank Baker, mistaking him for a suspect. Baker spent two weeks in the hospital.

Steve Linders, a spokesman with SPPD, said the department is upset over what happened. 

"Incredibly unfortunate," Linders said.

Going forward, SPPD will now only use its K-9's to catch violent criminals. 

"It probably doesn't make sense to have K-9's apprehending people who aren't violent or having proven to be violent," Linders said.

RELATED: Woman Sues St. Paul Police Officer after Being Bitten by K-9

For non-violent crimes like burglary or drug possession, the K-9's won't be deployed. 

"We never want our K-9's to bite someone who isn't the intended suspect in the case," Linders said.

The changes came after officers had talks with people in the community about policies that involve use of force, including the use of K-9's 

"It's important for people to know, we are not the police department, we are the community's police department," Linders said.

The lawyer for Collins and Baker released a statement that reads in part: 

Failure to exercise proper control over the animal dramatically increase(s) the risk that people...(are) attacked and bitten by the K9.
The new policy goes beyond that ... fewer innocent people injured has the likelihood of reducing St. Paul's liability.

Credits

Jonathan Rozelle

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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