Saturday, January 5, 2008

Read This First

Blogger has been extremely impressed by the prompt, positive and forward-looking reaction to this incident on the part of Police Chief Cathy Lanier, Inspector Victor Brito (director of the Police Academy) and his staff, and City Council members Jack Evans and Mary Cheh, especially with all else that is going on in the District that drains police resources. As we learn of specific measures taken to improve, where warranted, training for police officers on how to handle dogs (and animals in general), they will be posted here (see below message from Jack Evans to constituents). Inspector Brito's goal is to make DC's training a best practice and Blogger is encouraged that that will be possible. The MPD knows, however, that all of us believe that the safety of police officers on the street is of paramount importance, and it is in that spirit that suggestions for change have been offered.

E-mail message from Jack Evans to constituents:

Everyone is very shocked and saddened by the shooting of Scooby in Foggy Bottom at the end of the year. Besides, the senseless loss of a pet, it raises a lot of questions about public safety as an innocent bystander could easily have been hurt.

I’ve been in touch with both Scooby’s owner and MPD Chief Lanier. We are all very committed to preventing something like this from happening again. My office and I are working with the Washington Humane Society (WHS) to set up a formal training program in honor of Scooby. WHS is providing specially produced videos focusing on “police to dog shootings” and hands-on workshops to officers in dog behavior, learning how to read the body language dogs display and non-lethal defensive tactics in the event an officer feels threatened.

Chief Lanier is also planning additional training during their Roll Call Training modules and their 2008 pistol re-qualifications.

I want to thank everyone who’s been interested in this important matter and especially [concerend citizens] who met with MPD and offered specific recommendations to avoid this happening again.