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Enforce Policies and Practices for Canine Units

WHEREAS, From the beginning of slavery in America, canines were used to attack and intimidate Indigenous populations and to prevent enslaved people — mostly Black Africans — from fleeing; and

WHEREAS, An article by Trone Dowd written in 2022, "The Violent, Racist History of K-9 Units," states some Jim Crow-era sheriffs in smaller southern U.S. towns openly talked about using dogs to further their racist goals in the late 19th century. Sheriffs even held public demonstrations showing how effective dogs can be — and used Black people as bait; and

WHEREAS, Today, dog bites are still a problem with canine units. A 2019 journal published by the National Library of Medicine states that 1.1% of emergency department visits due to dog bites involve bites by dogs in canine units. The practice is known as "search and bite" versus "search and bark," which causes dogs to bite; and

WHEREAS, For many bite victims, there's little accountability or compensation. Federal civil rights laws don't typically cover innocent bystanders, and criminal suspects can't bring federal claims if they plead guilty or are convicted of a crime related to the biting incident.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the NAACP demands the Department of Justice require all canine units abide by the "Guidance for Policies and Practices for Patrol Canines" published in 2020 by the Police Executive Research Forum, and emphasizing the importance of establishing a canine unit with strict policies and practices.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, the NAACP demands that the Department of Justice set standards in canine police practices to use "search and bark" versus "search and bite" and set standards of how canine units are utilized, removing canine units for routine traffic stops, civilian encounters, and non-violent crimes.

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