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Written by Training and Consulting Team   

Some "tactics" to prepare you for the street and court...


Canine Liability 360


"Being consistent, making good decisions and keeping proper documentation will limit your liability and make you a better K9 handler and K9 supervisor."

CL360 is still rated by its attendees as the most comprehensive liability seminar now being offered! It serves as an essential phase for the handler and supervisor to assist in managing their K9 program and preparing for their potential "legal defense" to prevail in the event of a lawsuit by examining TAC Team's "360 Degrees of Responsibility" involving a single purpose patrol (bite) dog or cross-trained police service dog assigned to patrol and/or a tactical team.  The instructor is Sergeant Bill Lewis II (Retired) with over 37 years of law enforcement and instructor experience related to patrol operations, K9, SWAT and supervision.  He has published various articles relating to legal trends, police dogs and K9 programs and is the author of the popular "Reasons We Get in Trouble" periodical (and seminar presentations).  He started working with K9 teams in 1980 for three years as a decoy and continually since 1992 as a handler, supervisor, instructor, trial judge, certifying official, and expert witness - over 27 years of K9 experience.

CL360 has been submitted by host agencies and approved for "POST" credit in Connecticut, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Ohio, Nevada, North Dakota and Arkansas (CLEST).  The class is presented in a two-day (16 hours) format.

Note: This class is not recommended for detection-only K9 handlers.  The primary focus of the class addresses the use of patrol ("bite") dogs and the associated liabilities to potentially reduce risk and avoid trouble.  Handlers of single purpose tracking/trailing dogs that may or may not bite a suspect at the end of the trail could benefit from attending this class.

From course eval: "The class was a great '360 degree' overview of how a K9 program should be run in order to be effective on the street and have all or our bases covered in the court room."

K9 handlers, supervisors, administrators, and SWAT team leaders (who deploy with K9 teams) from the same agency are encouraged to attend together so everyone involved with their respective police dog program can simultaneously learn information and hear recommendations for successfully running their program. By doing so, they should all leave with a better understanding of each other's duties, responsibilities and liabilities. This class has been taught across the United States to experienced - and newly-appointed - K9 handlers, K9 supervisors, K9 administrators, patrol supervisors, patrol watch commanders, SAR handlers, Police Chiefs, SWAT supervisors, and SWAT team leaders as well as city attorneys, prospective handlers, decoys, trainers, an Assistant Police Chief, a County Attorney, and Risk Managers.  (Fact:  14 prospective handlers that have attended this class were all eventually selected to be handlers.)

"The best time to prepare for a lawsuit and prevail is before the bite - good or bad - occurs."

Participants will learn from the firsthand experiences of the instructor - successes and mistakes - as well as experiences of other handlers and supervisors involved with other K9 programs as some cases and recent incidents not found in "case law updates" are reviewed and lessons learned shared.  The class will include a review prior to the class of actual K9 deployment narratives with related discussion about the reports during the class as well as a report writing exercise at the class as part of the report writing section.


Information shared in this class will assist in K9 program management and may also assist to maintain or justify the retention of your K9 program during budget "cutback" considerations in these tough economic times.

Are you a new K9 supervisor?  Have you recently attended a liability and supervision course regarding K9 operations and supervision?  Do you have any previous "K9" experience?  These 360 courses usually have 50% (or more) of supervisors and commanders in attendance with "zero" experience with police dogs and K9 operations...and that's commendable because they were attending this class to better learn about their K9-related duties and responsibilities.


"Canines in the Courtroom" is occassionally offered as an optional third day in conjunction with CL360 as "narcotics detection liability" where Prosecuting Attorney Ted Daus and Sheriff's Deputy Andy Weiman from HITS Training & Consulting partner up in a powerful eight-hour lecture that will show you how to put all of your hard work and drug dog training efforts on display in the courtroom.  Successful prosecution of drug dog cases hinges on your dog's reliability. If you've worked or supervised a drug dog for any amount of time, you already know how fast the laws are changing for search and seizure and what was illegal yesterday, is being openly smoked today.  Key cases will be discussed and analyzed.  Documentation of training and courtroom testimony is critical and proper record keeping essential - all will be discussed.

"Canine Liability for Patrol Supervisors" is CL360-condensed and is recommended for and will also assist Watch Commanders, Incident Commanders and Patrol Supervisors with minimal to zero knowledge of K9 operations and policies who are currently supervising or who may supervise patrol K9 handlers - but are not assigned as the current K9 supervisor.  In most agencies, patrol supervisors, not the designated K9 supervisor, are assigned as the immediate supervisors for patrol K9 handlers and responsible for the first-line supervision and primary evaluation of the handlers.  Immediate supervisors and other patrol supervisors become "K9 supervisors" in terms of liability when a K9 team is deployed under their supervision during a field operation or works in the field under their general supervision.  Patrol supervisors are usually knowledgeable with patrol operations and liability aspects related to the other less lethal tools, but less familiar with patrol supervision and liability as it relates directly to the police service dog.  NOT RECOMMENDED FOR K9 HANDLERS OR K9 SUPERVISORS.

Course topics include:

"Control and Case Law"

Policy & Operational Manual

"Reasons We Get in Trouble"

Use of Force

Selection and Retention

Training & Documentation

Courtroom and Deposition Testimony

Report Writing

Deployments and Debriefs

"The Court of Public Opinion"

Dealing with Unintentional Bites

Evidence Collection & Retention

Off-Duty Care & Compensation

Supervision and Discipline

Attendee comments from course evaluations and e-mails;

"This course exceeded my expectations due to the amount of information.  This course covered all the needed information, not only for the new supervisor, but ones that have been around awhile."

"I have been to two separate canine liability classes and this class by far was the best and most informative."

"[Bill Lewis] has more expertise on effectively managing, training and testifying in regards to K9 than anyone I've met so far."

"Bill [Lewis] was a great speaker, highly knowledgeable on K9 programs and how to avoid a disastrous outcome after a deployment."

"Today was the last day to our Canine Liability 360 class...and I left with a huge weight on my shoulders. This is because I realized how much my [K9] unit needs to change. We are really behind on the use of updated forms to document our training, apprehension reports and policies.  I am going to be working really hard for the next few weeks to get us updated. I am sending you this email to thank you for opening my eyes and realizing the deficiencies now so that I can make the changes before it's too late.  Again thank you very much for your instruction. The class exceeded my expectations as I indicated on my class survey."

"[Bill's] presentation was one of the best use of force I have seen...clear, supported by experience and full of suggestions to use his lessons, lessons of others and our own experience."

"This course not only covered liability but it filled in information and best practices that I was missing in my training."

"I had lots of compliments about your class.  I remember when I first started as an officer, my department sent me to the Street Survival Seminar.  I told one of our guys at your class that I classified [CL360] as the 'K9 Officer's Street and Court Survival seminar.'"

"This was an invaluable course that contained tons of relevant, realistic information.  Things taught and learned are applicable to all police organizations.  Bill Lewis does an outstanding job relating his experience and the realities of the K9 world.  He talks about mistakes and solutions to issues that arise."

"By the way, we are doing a K9 handler oral board today.  I'm glad I went to your class.  It has already been very helpful." (sent via e-mail two days after a class)

"Bill [Lewis] has a ton of knowledge and readily shared it with the entire class."

"I learned our agency is on the right path but I also learned we could do better."

"I am a K9 coordinator for our K9 unit but was never a handler myself.  This class gave me the basis for understanding some critical areas of liability in my own department."

"There was no stone left uncovered - everything was covered from forms to policies to case laws to reference materials."

"You covered as much in one day than a 3-day K-9 supervision class I attended and did it better."

"This class is a MUST for lieutenants and captains regardless of their K9 affiliation.  This way, when a K9 supervisor makes a request, we won't run into red tape and money issues."

"Excellent instructor!  I would e-mail him in a heartbeat if I had an issue or questions."

"One of the best classes I've attended."

"Opened my eyes to problems with my department's K9 unit."

"Your course exceeded my expectations and helped me realize just how much I did not know!"

"The course is the only of its kind which offers a comprehensive overview of how to run and be a part of a successful K9 program to limit out liabilities."

"I had no experience as a [K9] supervisor.  I feel more comfortable now having this knowledge."

"As a patrol sergeant, this class covered the 360 degrees of K9 work for me."

"You were able to impart of lot of knowledge in one day while keeping the attention of the entire class.  This is not an easy thing to do in a room full of cops."

"Almost everything taught is something that can be taken back to our unit that will better prepare and protect our handlers and other officers who work with the K9 unit."

"As we all know, law and liabilities are boring but very necessary topics.  This class was NOT boring!"

"I thought this class would be like others I have attended.  I was wrong and received very useful information."

"I've been in canine for six years and have been to many legal updates that included liability.  My expectations for this course were high and you met them.  Thank you."

"I learned more from you in one day than a 5-day [K9 commanders] course I took."


Scheduled classes:

October 3 thru 5 - Carlsbad, California.  Hosted by Carlsbad Police Department. "Canines in the Courtroom" on October 3 and "Canine Liaiblity 360" on October 4 & 5.  Limited to 48 law enforcement personnel per class on a first-come basis.  Tuition is $175 for Canines in the Courtroom (and includes the book "K9s in the Courtroom") and $195 for CL360.  Classes can be taken separately or combined.  For more information, a course announcement, or to make reservations, contact Bill Lewis II at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

October 18 & 19 - Mountain View, California.  Hosted by Mountain View Police Department.  Canine Liability 360 only. Limited to 48 law enforcement personnel on a first-come basis.  Tuition is $195.  For more information, a course announcement, or to make reservations, contact Bill Lewis II at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

November 28 thru 30 - Yakima, Washington.  Hosted by Yakima Police Department. "Canines in the Courtroom" on November 28 and "Canine Liability 360" on November 29 & 30.  Limited to 60 law enforcement personnel per class on a first-come basis.  Tuition is $175 for Canines in the Courtroom (and includes the book "K9s in the Courtroom") and $195 for CL360.  Classes can be taken separately or combined.  For more informaiton, a course announcement, or to make reservations, contact Bill Lewis II at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

December 12 thru 14 - Lakeland, Florida.  Hosted by HITS Training & Consulting. "Canines in the Courtroom" on December 12 and "Canine Liability 360" on December 13 & 14.  Limited to 55 law enforcement personnel per class on a first-come basis.  Tuition is $175 for Canines in the Courtroom (and includes the book "K9s in the Courtroom") and $195 for CL360.  Classes can be taken separately or combined.  For more information, a course announcement, or to make reservations, contact Bill Lewis II at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


All classes restricted to law enforcement personnel on a first-come basis.  Tuition for classes can be paid securely online after reservation confirmation at


Previous CL360 and Patrol Supervisors classes;  Bakersfield, California (March 8/9, 2016), San Luis Obispo, CA (Ptrl Spv - Nov 4, 2015), Bend, Oregon (Oct 27/28, 2015), Corona, CA (Ptrl Spv - Oct 23, 2015), Plainfield, Illinois (Oct 7/8, 2015), Palm Springs, CA (Sept 2/3, 2015), Homestead, Florida (July 22/23, 2015), Rochester, Minnesota (May 28/29, 2015), Rochester, MN (Ptrl Spv - May 27), Fresno, California (March 17/18, 2015), Bismarck, North Dakota (Oct 21/22, 2014), Lakewood, Colorado (Aug 19/20, 2014), Paso Robles, California (Feb 25/26, 2014), Tumwater, Washington (Feb 12/13, 2014), Oxnard, California (Oct 31, 2013), West Allis, Wisconsin (Sept 24, 2013), Modesto, California (Sept 16, 2013), Corona, CA (Sept 12, 2013), Tucson, Arizona (Aug 8, 2013), Rochester, MN (July 24, 2013), Naperville, Illinois (July 22, 2013), Corona, CA (June 19, 2013), Galt, CA (May 22, 2013), Springfield, Oregon (April 29, 2013), Scottsdale, AZ (March 19, 2013), Antioch, CA (Feb 12, 2013), Muskogee, Oklahoma (Jan 22, 2013), Fontana, CA (Nov 8, 2012), Vancouver, Washington (Sept 21, 2012), Santa Rosa, CA (Aug 14, 2012), Bend, Oregon (July 23, 2012), Carlsbad, CA (July 18, 2012), Corona, CA (May 21, 2012), Breckenridge, Colorado (May 9, 2012), Whittier, CA (Feb 23, 2012), Paso Robles, CA (Oct 17, 2011), Simi Valley, CA (Oct 11, 2011), Flagstaff, AZ (Aug 29, 2011), Henderson, Nevada (Aug 24, 2011), Modesto, CA (Aug 15, 2011), Norwalk, Connecticut (Apr 5, 2011), Corona, CA (Feb 1, 2011), Chicago, IL (Oct 28, 2010), South Euclid, Ohio (Oct 26, 2010), Cape Coral, Florida (Oct 12, 2010), Buena Park, CA (May 19, 2010), West Covina, CA (May 18, 2010), Payson, AZ (July 10, 2008), and Oxnard, CA (Mar 28, 2007).


This class is offered with free tuition allocated for a host agency, organization, association or K9 Unit, based on the number of paid registrations.  Contact Bill Lewis II at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for hosting requirements or more information.




Quote of the Day

"It's hard to learn new skills in the middle of a gunfight."

-Clint Smith


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