Police & Dog Encounters

Police & Dog Encounters:  
Tactical Strategies and Effective Tools to Keep Our Communities Safe and Humane

In August 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office released “The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters.” This manual was developed under the auspices of the University of Illinois’ Center for Public Safety and Justice by authors from the University, the Best Friends Animal Society, Safe Humane Chicago, and the National Canine Research Council.  The entire project was funded by the National Canine Research Council.

Because of the popularity of the printed book, in partnership with The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), the National Canine Research Council (NCRC) and Safe Humane Chicago decided to launch a video training series for law enforcement agencies across the country to respond to the popularity of the manual produced in 2011. Called Police & Dog Encounters: Tactical Strategies and Effective Tools to Keep Our Communities Safe and Humane, the videos give police the tools to keep them protected when they encounter a dog while on duty.


Narrated by retired Chicago police superintendent, Terry Hillard, the videos feature dog behavior expert Brian Kilcommons demonstrating real-life scenarios with SWAT and street officers.  By facilitating interactions between real dogs and police officers, Kilcommons teaches officers how to better understand canine body language and how to better monitor their own body language to make dogs feel more at ease. The series is made up of five videos, each 10 minutes in length:

  • Video 1, An Overview: Assessing the Situation
  • Video 2, Communicating with Dogs: Police and Dog Body Language
  • Video 3, Tactical Considerations
  • Video 4, Use of Force Considerations
  • Video 5, Legal Considerations: Liability, Reporting, and Documentation

The videos are the first law enforcement training resource of their kind in addressing risk management, canine body language, officer safety, and canine safety.  The videos are available at no cost through the COPS Office Community Policing Learning Portal.