Testimony from Nevada State Trooper describes how 4th Amendment rights are violated with Metro’s K-9 Unit
Clark County, Nevada
December 12, 2016
Veterans In Politics International has uncovered the mishandling of drug sniffing dogs by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD).
Below are highlights of the letter with chilling descriptions of the K-9 Unit under the operation of Nevada Department of Public Safety and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD).
The decision to create a “Hybrid” K9 program by having the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department train a Nevada DPS canine in their system has severely degraded the integrity of the Nevada DPS K9 Unit. This will lead to providing an environment conducive to the violation of citizen 4th Amendment Rights.
Metro buys their detector dogs from Mark Rispoli sight unseen, untested, no warrantee, no health guarantee and no return agreement. One of the last untrained dogs they bought from Makor had heartworm at the time of delivery. Heartworm is a preventable deadly disease that is very expensive to treat. Metro had to absorb the cost of treatment for the dog. Most trainers will not accept any dog that has ever had heartworm because of the lifelong endurance and medical problems it causes. But Metro did.
English brags Metro doesn’t do any selection testing of the dogs before training because he can train any dog to find drugs in a matter of hours or days. Any dog. If that is true, then why doesn’t Metro simply pick up free dogs from the animal shelter and quit paying several thousands of dollars of public money to Makor Kennels?
I have personally witnessed a Metro handler take his dog behind a car after missing a significant drug seizure and brutally kick his dog repeatedly. And it doesn’t stop after basic training. I have seen it on the road.
Such harsh treatment of a dog is not only morally wrong, it may be criminal. And the fact that it is done for the sole purpose of releasing a toy is moronic and counterproductive.
This decision to break down the DPS K9 programs structural integrity by having dogs trained by different departments throughout the state mirrors the lack of standardization of training that caused the prior NHP K9 program to fail drastically.
Accordingly, I believe our command has started the DPS K9 Program on a path that will lead to frequently missed contraband and the violation of citizen civil rights.
LVMPD Drug Detector Dog Video:
LVMPD Cueing Video Willy Silva and BEBE 4 Full Version
LVMPD K9 Short Clip K9 Only
LVMPD K9 Cueing T5
NHP Dash Cam 9/06/2011 Detective Willie Silva and Drug Detector Dog Beebe:
NHP Trooper receives written consent to search car during traffic stop. Detective Silva arrives with his drug detection dog Beebe after the consent has been obtained. The K9 team had no involvement in the probable cause, recovery of narcotics, or subsequent prosecution of this case. Detective Silva asked for and received permission from the NHP case agent to deploy his dog Beebe either as a training exercise or as an attempt to pad statistics.
- Silva/Beebe are certified by LVMPD K9, California P.O.S.T., and California Narcotic Canine Assoc. (CNCA). Both CA POST and CNCA certification processes are used by commercial kennels and cops that train and sell dogs on the side to mine for prospective customers.
- The Calif. POST K9 certification process has been corrupted by commercial vendors/special interest and the standards/evaluation process is a joke – i.e. commercial kennels pay CA POST Evaluators (usually cops employed off duty by that kennel) to test and pass certification on dogs and training the kennel sold to police departments. Friends can certify friends, etc. There is no oversight, supervision, or management of the evaluators or process. It is founded on the assumption of honesty and integrity. That has been wholly corrupted. Anyone including civilians with no police experience can achieve evaluator status by simply attending an 8 hour classroom presentation.
- CNCA is a sham police K9 association that offers both CA POST and CNCA certification. CNCA board members are all involved in the selling and training of drug and explosive detection dogs. CNCA’s true purpose is to promote the commercial enterprise Makor Kennels. Makor is owned by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Rispoli and he holds a shadow position on the board as Legal Advisor. Metro buys all of their dogs sight unseen and untested from Makor Kennels (Mark Rispoli). Also on the board is Sgt. Jay Carlson, recently retired head K9 Trainer for LVMPD. The California CNCA representative is Officer Mel English, current head K9 Trainer for LVMPD. All 3 of these gentlemen are partners in a police K9 business called Battle Born K9. Their partnership has existed for some time even while Carlson was English’s immediate supervisor and LVMPD K9 bought their dogs from Rispoli. Big conflict of interest! Everybody on the board of CNCA is connected in some business manner to everybody else on the board.
Contents of the car are placed on the ground behind the car. Unknown to everyone but the owner of the car, there is 4 pounds of methamphetamine concealed in the liner of the blue ice chest located on the right.
As Beebe walks into view, she shows no focus or intensity. Silva walks her over the bags. At one point she walks over to the left side of the ice chest and shows no indication of odor. Silva pulls her back to the other bags.
Silva then leads Beebe to the car and conducts a search there. The dog is not interested and is not hunting – she is just going through the motions as evidenced by her sniffing the ground and general lack of motivation. She does however perk up when Silva specifically points or talks to her.
When Silva points, Beebe puts her nose on that spot but then immediately walks away. She is merely performing a trick. At some point the team exits the car and you can see Beebe take a stroll outside from front to rear of the driver’s side, showing no interest in searching. Silva gets her to go through the motions of searching again at the rear outside of the car, but it is a halfhearted effort by Beebe.
Silva and Beebe then stroll away from the car towards the camera. Beebe is more interested in sniffing the ground than searching for drugs. She walks right next to and passes the 4 lbs. of meth in the ice chest again.
Silva then explains to the Trooper that his dog showed “interest” in the rear inside of the car. This is what Metro does. Because of the training and poor/corrupt selection of the dogs, they do not find drugs. And everyone knows it. Look at the disgust and mistrust on the face of the trooper. Accordingly, Metro will either cue their dogs to alert, or they will state that the dog showed interest as a hedge. It gets them into the car if there is a refusal to consent to search. If drugs are eventually found the dog gets credit for a seizure. If no drugs are found, then they blame it on residual odor, it never gets reported, and there is no record. If the dog is accurate and good enough to detect microscopic drug odor inside the car, then why did it walk past 4 lbs. of meth. Silva picking his nose at the end is also very special.
The Trooper, a very honest, experienced, and respected veteran of highway interdiction disregards Silva’s “interest” advice and pry’s open the liner of the ice chest without even looking in the car. Silva had put away his dog and is nervously looking over the Trooper’s shoulder. The Trooper finds 4 lbs. of methamphetamine concealed in plastic between the liner and outside walls of the ice chest. He slices open the package to ensure it is illegal drugs within. That in and of itself released any meth odor that may have been contained by the plastic. 4 lbs. of pure unrestrained meth odor is huge odor.
As the Trooper is going through the documentation procedure, Silva retrieves his dog and wants to run it on the drugs again. Now Silva knows where the drugs are. Silva emerges into view with Beebe on leash in his left hand and the dog’s “reward” (Kong on a rope) in his right hand.
Beebe wanders (not hunting) through the bags, walks through the meth odor again, and then jumps back into the rear of the car. It is because the dog is patterned trained through classic and operant conditioning, and rewarded for certain behaviors (tricks) rather than triggering specific compulsive instincts (drives) to hunt for specific odors (in this case illegal drugs).
Silva makes an attempt at some half-witted explanation and leads Beebe back to the ice chest. She ignores odor again. What follows is classic cueing. Although more blatant than normal Metro cueing, it is the foundation of their training.
At one point Silva tries to coax Beebe into alerting by telling her “that’s it” when she puts her nose on the top of the chest. But Beebe walks away. Silva eventually gets Beebe to notice he has a Kong in his hand and she at least shows a little more energy, but still fails to hunt. He tries to “bracket” her by standing in a certain manner in front of the chest (classic Metro cueing), but even that doesn’t work. Beebe walks away from the chest and back to Silva. Silva coaxes her with the Kong and Beebe bumps the Kong with her nose. Silva guides her back to the chest with a short leash and “closely brackets” her. When Beebe eventually puts her nose on the top of the chest Silva rewards her with the Kong. He then tells the dog “good find”.
Silva and Beebe are the norm in Metro K9, not the exception. This is what Metro does, and has been doing for years. It is a little more overt than normal, but Silva probably did not realize he was on dash cam.
Metro handlers engage in this type of dishonesty because that is how they were trained. They know nothing else. Their dogs don’t find drugs in real deployments and they therefore resort to trickery (cueing) and sleight of hand. To them it is normal and they all do it. Of course there is a huge dishonesty issue with the handlers, but the true fault lies in the selection and training of the dogs. If the dogs performed at even a minimal level, then the handlers wouldn’t have to resort to cueing.
Metro’s K9 system is corrupt and their Master Trainer Mel English is a moron.
A 3 Short
V Comb 3 Short
The Retraining of Amanda:
The purpose of these videos is to demonstrate the corrupt practices, policies, and training of LVMPD K9. They are to show what a good, reliable detector dog looks like and how improper techniques can interfere with reliability. Metro took a very nice, high intensity, very reliable drug detection dog and turned her into a handler sensitive circus act that relies on the handler for cues and confirmation. This is what Metro does and these videos show the distinct contrast between good and bad. It is the willful ignorance and indifference to 4th Amendment protections by Metro’s K9 trainers that are at the foundation of their training. That training is fundamentally responsible for the foreseeable illegal acts by others.
Amanda is a young female Malinois originally trained and certified according to Nevada POST and Utah POST standards.
Amanda received 400 hours of in house training by NHP K9 Instructors. The NHP training system invokes compulsive instinctual responses (drives) and provides the dog with progressive experiences wherein the dog self discovers how to achieve satisfaction for that compulsion (drive). Just 1 month after graduation and certification, Amanda was reassigned to a new handler and “re-trained” by Metro’s so called Master Trainer, Officer Mel English, in a very mixed up training regimen of dominance/submission, pain compliance, operant conditioning, behavior shaping, play/praise, and handler reward.
The NHP system was designed to ensure reliability and 4th Amendment protections. It is simply based on Prey Drive. The dogs are carefully selected for pronounced Prey Drive – an instinctual compulsion to hunt, locate, flush, catch, and kill small prey. It is founded on the rabbit in his hole. The dog detects the scent of the rabbit (specific drug odor), follows that scent to the opening of the rabbit’s nest (source of odor), and employs instinctual flushing techniques (digging) at that source of odor in an attempt to break open the nest, or to cause the rabbit to jump out of the hole (flushing). It is all instinctual. The dog discovers success and satisfaction when he catches and kills the rabbit. It is purely genetic, compulsive, and hard wired. There is no reliance on the handler other than to put the dog in the area of odor. The dog does it because he is genetically compelled to do it. He can’t help himself. There is no confirmation or reward from the handler. The handler knows there is drug odor present (and its location) by the compulsive, overt, and instinctual actions of the dog (flushing/digging at the source of odor).
The handler also knows when there are no drugs by the absence of those actions. It is a no brainer. There is no guessing, interpretation of behavior, praise, cueing, dominance, infliction of pain, obedience requirements, or handler associated reward. The dog does it all on his own for his genetic satisfaction. Accordingly, the dog has no reason to alert (flush) where there is no scent – there is no rabbit there. But if there is target odor, the dog will follow it to the ends of the earth and it is difficult if not impossible for the handler to call or physically remove the dog from the source of odor. It is a true obsessive compulsion. That is reliability.
The first set of videos is of Amanda during her training with NHP Instructors. The first 3 clips are of Amanda at the end of her first week of training. She is detecting 1 oz. of marijuana odor, following scent to its source, and then demonstrates the self-discovery/prey drive satisfaction that is the base for all training. Note the lack of praise, interference, or influence from the handler.
The next 2 clips are of Amanda approximately half way through training. She has progressed to detecting heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine. One clip shows Amanda detecting trace odor of cocaine concealed in the headlight of a car. The second clip shows Amanda detecting trace methamphetamine odor downwind at the rear wheel area of a car and following the odor to its source at the bottom of the door.
The last clip is of an NHP detector dog that flushes with a passive alert – the dog downs when he locates the source of drug odor and stares at the source to flush the rabbit out of its’ hole. The dog detects odor on the downwind side of the car and you can clearly see him follow the scent to source. This is what a so called passive alert dog should look like.
- Note – LVMPD K9’s Master Trainer Mel English determined through a very short evaluation that this dog has no “Hunt Drive” and could not be re-trained by them. Unbelievable. This is the same dog in the warehouse test referred to in the Moonin Resignation Letter. Even an untrained eye can see this dog oozes Hunt Drive. Note how he literally pulls his handler to the search area and then carefully details during the search. No clickers, no praise, no cueing, no Kong toys. Just a dog hunting his prey. Also note how he pulls hard on the leash when he detects odor and the handler is out of the dog’s sight when he flushes.
NHP Trooper Hugh Shook and K9 Amanda
NHP Trooper Hugh Shook and K9 Amanda:
This video is of Amanda and her new handler after she was re-trained and certified by LVMPD K9. There is a stark difference. It is important to keep in mind that Amanda had received extensive training in the detection of marijuana prior to Metro’s re-training – in the training videos, Amanda detects odor 3-5 feet away from 1 oz. of marijuana. In the Amanda car training videos, Amanda’s drive and focus causes her to detect trace (microscopic) methamphetamine odor from a one half car length away. She follows the scent to its source and when she has absolute source (the location of the prey) she digs at that very spot to flush the prey out.
2011 07 06 Shook Amanda Cueing
11 lbs. of marijuana has already been found in the right rear of the trunk of the car by another officer before Shook and Amanda arrived on scene.
You don’t need a dog to smell that huge amount of odor. The trunk is cracked open to allow more odor to escape and is therefore easier for the dog to detect odor. Shook knows the location of the marijuana. Any dog should first detect that amount of odor from at least 10 feet away from source.
Shook conducts a pre-search ritual by commanding Amanda into a sit and staring into her eyes. They will tell you this is to pump the dog up and ready the dog to search, but as you can see from Amanda’s training videos that is not necessary. It is actually very counterproductive. In reality, this routine is to accomplish two things; to dominate the dog and intentionally invoke submission, and to let the dog see that the handler has the toy at the ready (note the rope hanging from Shook’s left cargo pocket – it is always attached to the Kong toy). The dominance establishes and maintains focus and reliance on the handler, and the toy reward is used to reinforce desired behavior.
Shook then commands the dog to search the rear of the car. Amanda passes through the huge odor and attempts to round the left rear corner of the car. That amount of odor should have hit her like a sledge hammer right between the eyes. But she has been reconditioned to rely on the handler for cues and confirmation. Shook pulls her back and “brackets” Amanda on the right rear. But Amanda doesn’t detect the marijuana odor – she sniffs the keys in the trunk lock and alerts with a stand and stare (or indicates, or gives a response, or whatever Metro wants to call it).
The problem is she is not alerting to drug odor, she is alerting to fresh human scent. Metro pays no attention to scent contamination in their training and they frequently handle their training aids with their bare hands. This over time permeates their drug training aids with human scent. So fresh human scent becomes a large part of the target scent picture and can eventually become the target odor itself. This is clearly what has happened to Amanda. With the huge amount of marijuana odor present, she alerts to a set of keys? It is pitiful. However, right at the critical moment that requires conformation and reward in the Metro training system, a Metro officer walks up to Shook and whispers something in his ear (probably that he is being filmed). Amanda just stops, stares at the crack, and looks back at Shook. Shook appears to momentarily lose his concentration and fails to cue or reward the dog.
Shook then breaks his “bracketing” posture and takes a slight step to the right. Amanda practically jumps away from the trunk and resumes her “hunting behavior” on the passenger side of the car. Shook redirects Amanda back to the right corner of the car. Amanda goes back to the trunk area and walks through odor again. This time Shook slyly restricts her with the leash to prevent her from going to the driver’s side of the car again. As Amanda reaches the left rear of the car, Shook employs a very well-practiced cueing technique. He grabs the Kong rope with his left hand and pulls it into clear view of Amanda. Shook then reaches over his body to his left cargo pocket with his right hand, pulls out the Kong, cradles it in his hand, and assumes an enticing posture. Amanda see all this, puts her paws on top of the trunk, and “alerts” with a “stand and stare”. Shook then rewards her behavior.
This is pitiful.
Another K-9 Dog:
Dot is a female Springer Spaniel that has significant nerve problems and is extremely submissive. Her background is murky.
Metro trainers state that Dot was some kind of special dog born in Ireland. She was so special that she was imported to England for a large sum of money. They are vague as to the actual person Dot was purchased from. Dot was purchased by Metro sight unseen and imported to Las Vegas from England for $11K. That is an exorbitant amount to pay for a small, nervous, untrained, untested, and unseen adolescent female Springer Spaniel with no special pedigree.
Dot is still a nervous wreck. They have to physically force her to go into tight and dark places. Dot received just 3 weeks of the same training as the dogs in the supplied videos, and is just as weak in her work.
There may be another disturbing background to Dot that could expose corruption or at least dishonesty by Metro K9 trainers. Sgt. Jay Carlson was the head trainer of Metro at the time Dot was purchased, and Mel English was #2. They both were closely tied and probably in business with Mark Rispoli (Makor Kennels) at that time. All 3 were board members of California Narcotic Canine Assoc. and Carlson purchased all of Metro’s dogs from Rispoli.
Around the same time Dot was purchased, CNCA, Mark Rispoli, Jay Carlson, and Mel English began touting a new member of the CNCA Board that was retired from the Norwegian Border Patrol, Rolf Von Krogh. Neither Norway nor the Norwegian Border Patrol are known for good dogs or training. In fact it is the opposite.
It just so happens Krogh is a breeder of Springer Spaniels and markets his dogs through England. Mark Rispoli is the one that brought Mr. Krogh to the U.S. and placed him on the board of CNCA. Rispoli tried to campaign Krogh through seminars as some king of European dog guru, but that fell flat on its face. It appears Mr. Krogh was not quite as advertised.
This transaction with Dot doesn’t pass the smell test. It is likely that Dot was actually bred and sold by Krogh, shipped to a middleman in England, and then shipped to LVMPD. Dot may have been used as a means to establish a business relationship between Rispoli and Krogh in order to open up a mysterious foreign supplier. Carlson and English may have assisted their business partner Rispoli in what would be a major conflict of interest. The huge price for this piece of junk called Dot was probably due to so many taking a piece of the pie.
This shady transaction should certainly be looked into.