Canine Policy Revision

3/26/2019 12:15:00 PM

Legislative initiatives to revise Illinois’ cannabis laws continue to progress at this time in Springfield, and significant changes regarding possession and use are likely on the horizon. As a result, we understand that several police agencies acquiring new narcotic detection canines wish to avoid imprinting their animals on odors associated with marijuana and cannabis derivatives. Nevertheless, the existing law requiring police agencies to train all canines utilized in the issuance of citations arising out of the Cannabis Control Act, the Controlled Substances Act, and the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act, to the Board’s standards, remains in effect.

Due to issues related to the current requirements, Executive Director Fischer and Board staff have been in direct contact with several legislators and have offered amendatory suggestions that would decouple these training requirements, allowing agencies to choose which substances their canines are trained to detect and qualify them accordingly. However, in the interim period before any pertinent laws are changed, the Board has considered various options to bridge this obstacle while maintaining a commitment to advancing the public and professional benefits of certified training.

Therefore, for any agency seeking to omit trainings related to cannabis detection, the Board will make such a notation in our master files and suspend the “remediation” requirements which would be triggered when a canine that has not been imprinted does not detect cannabis odors in the course of completing the Board’s certification/requalification requirements. This suspension shall remain in place until June 1, 2019 -- at which time the status of any related legislation will be reviewed and Board policies will be updated accordingly, or sustained as needed. Agencies seeking to omit cannabis training for their narcotic detection canines must notify the Board prior to commencing the certification/requalification process and are strongly encouraged to consult with their local prosecutors beforehand.

We believe that this accommodation is in the best interest of Illinois law enforcement agencies, and the public they serve, as we proceed through this period of transition.

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