Hammond officer in police dog video back on job

HAMMOND, Ind. - A Hammond police officer put on administrative leave after a video posted online showed him hitting a police dog is back on the job after a review concluded he didn't abuse or harm the canine.

But Police Chief John Doughty said Monday that the officer will get additional training to prevent a repeat of the incident because his actions were outside his "normal routine and training."

The officer was placed on leave after video footage was posted on YouTube showing him lifting the dog off the ground by its collar and hitting it with a leash during a traffic stop.

Police offered a detailed account Monday of the video and released a letter from a kennel discussing the video and recommending remedial training for the officer and all of the department's police dog handlers.

The police account states that during the traffic stop, the dog searched the vehicle's exterior and gave a positive response for illegal drugs. The dog was given a ball as a reward.

The officer was required to retrieve the ball before placing the dog back in a car kennel before providing backup to the patrol officer, but the dog was reluctant to give up the ball.

Dan Parker, director of law enforcement operations at Vohne Liche Kennels, writes in a letter that his students are taught to recover the ball from their dogs by first commanding them to sit and then hooking the leash to the choke collar and adjusting its as high up on the dog's neck as possible.

The dog is then commanded to release the ball as the handler applies just enough pressure to restrict its air and force a release, The Times of Munster reported (http://bit.ly/SeGGzC ).

"In some cases the dog figures out that standing on his hind legs also releases the pressure and it appears the handler is hanging the dog but in reality he is applying the same pressure," Parker wrote.

The dog never appeared to show signs of stress or abuse, Parker added, and its tail was wagging the entire time.

Because the dog was resisting releasing the ball, the officer chose to "lightly slap at his shoulders (with the leash) to expedite the release," Doughty said in his release.

Both Parker and Doughty described police dogs as "high drive."

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