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Canine Liability 360 PDF Print E-mail
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 the most comprehensive (and affordable) liability seminar now being offered according to attendee feedgback! 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 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 38 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.  He started working with K9 teams in 1980 as a decoy and later 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 previously approved for POST credit in Connecticut, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Ohio, Nevada and North Dakota.

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.

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.

"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?  One of these 360 courses had over 50% 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.

This class as well as "Canine Liability for Patrol Supervisors" (see September 12 below) will also assist patrol supervisors and watch commanders 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.

Course topics include:

"Control and Case Law"

Policy & Operational Manual

"Reasons We Get in Trouble"

Use of Force

Selection and Retention

Training & Documentation

Report Writing

Deployments and Debriefs

"The Court of Public Opinion"

Dealing with Unintentional Bites

K9 Field Training Program

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

"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 [CL360] class that I classified it as the 'K9 Officer's Street and Court Survival seminar.'"

"This was an invaluable course that contained tons or 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." this page

"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."

"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!"

"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:

December 13 & 14 - Lakeland, Florida. Hosted by HITS Training and Consulting. Also (optionally) includes "Canines in the Courtroom" on December 12.  Tuition is $195 for Canine Liability 360 and $175 for Canines in the Courtroom (includes the book "K9s in the Courtroom").  To make a reservation, or request a course announcement or more information, contact Bill Lewis II at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


April 4 & 5 (2017) - Missoula, Montana.  Hosted by U.S. Forest Service and Missoula County Sheriff's Office. Details pending.


May 2 & 3 (2017)  - Castle Rock, Colorado.  Hosted by Rocky Mountain Tactical Team Association. Registration can (optionally) include Day One of the RMTTA Conference & Vendor Exhibits on May 1 at no additional cost.  Tuition is $195 per person and limited to law enforcement personnel only.  Details pending.


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


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.



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