Supreme Court ruling and K9 units - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Supreme Court ruling and K9 units

Amarillo, Texas - A Supreme Court ruling has many people questioning the use of police K9 units.

The Supreme Court has ruled police cannot bring a drug-sniffing dog onto your property without first obtaining a search warrant.

Some people are in favor of the ruling stating it upholds the Fourth Amendment. Others say it hurts law enforcement.

The Fourth Amendment states the people have a right to secure their homes against unreasonable search an seizure. Now according to a ruling by the Supreme Court, police cannot bring a drug-sniffing dog onto your property without a warrant.

"They said that the Fourth Amendment still means something, and we just can't search peoples houses based on a dog sniffing," Adam Tisdell, attorney says.

The ruling came from a case out of Florida where a drug-sniffing dog was brought to a front door to sniff for probable cause for a warrant.

"You can't just bring a drug dog by everyone's house in town and see if they hit or not and search the house," Tisdell says.

But Randall County Sheriff's say that's not how their unit operates.

"If we suspect criminal activity, if we've got intel that narcotics are being sold out of the house, or whatever we just take the dog up to the front door and have the dog check the free airspace of the door," Scott Riley, Randall County Sheriff's K9 Deputy says.

Riley says this ruling will only make law enforcement's job harder. He says sniffing the air should not be a violation of someone's privacy.

"And you take the proper steps of going back to the court and before a judge and getting a search warrant before you ever make entry into the house. I don't see how that's violating their rights," Riley says.

Riley says without unlimited use of dogs, their job is going to become a lot harder and more expensive. That's because more man hours will be needed for surveillance rather than using the K9's.

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