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Plymouth named in major lawsuit

March 30, 2012

PLYMOUTH — Plymouth is one of about 50 municipalities recently named in a major lawsuit, according to City Attorney Sean Surrisi. Kevin D. Miller was searched by a Plymouth Police Department K9 unit in 2009 following a traffic stop by the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department. Miller has since claimed that Plymouth’s K9 — and all other dogs trained at Vohne-Liche Kennels in Peru — are unreliable. Miller claims that the dog falsely detected drugs in his vehicle and that the search was traumatizing to himself and his wife. Miller was not arrested or charged.
Surrisi said that the suit was filed in late January of this year, and Plymouth received notification of it in late February.
“We are defending (the lawsuit) vigorously,” said Surrisi in an interview Thursday. “It’s all in very early stages at this point. (Miller) is seeking a court order for the municipalities involved to stop utilizing their K9 units.”
Surrisi said that he could not comment on whether such a court order was likely to be issued. He also mentioned that some municipalities are contesting their involvement in the lawsuit, claiming that their K9 units did not come from Vohne-Liche Kennels. Surrisi confirmed that Plymouth’s K9 was trained at Vohne-Liche, but he has no reason to believe that there are any problems with the kennel. Vohne-Liche is also being sued by Miller.
“There are serious legal and factual deficiencies with Miller’s complaint,” said Surrisi. “The city of Plymouth respects the civil rights of all and stands behind its police officers.”
The city has until April 11 to file a response to the lawsuit.

Comments

SAME

March 30, 2012 by Anonymous, 2 years 30 weeks ago
Comment: 13981

THIS SAME THING JUST HAPPENED TO MY NEPHEW

Just got lucky

April 15, 2012 by Anonymous, 2 years 28 weeks ago
Comment: 14005

Apparently Mr. Miller does not understand that these dogs have a nose so sensitive which enable's them to also smell residue left behind from drugs that used to be in the car prior to the traffic stop. So he should probably be thanking his lucky stars that he got out whatever drugs he had before the search.

Not without merit

April 30, 2012 by Anonymous, 2 years 26 weeks ago
Comment: 14024

You are correct, dogs can locate trace amounts (residual odor) of whatever it is trained to locate. However, having been through Vonhe Liche's class in the past I would tend to agree with the plaintiff. I have purchased from several police dog vendors and I have worked and trained police dogs for over 25 years.

Licklider's trainers are amoung the worst. Not only are they extremely abusive to the dogs they train but they have no legitimate certification process in place. They don't or didn't train dogs to do interior sniffs of vehicles. Their theory was that if the dog alerted to the exterior then you tear the car apart, SERIOUSLY? Not only is that a waste of time but it's ludicrous. If your dog alerted to a KNOWN hide then you certified. If a dog did not release a bite they whipped it and you certify.

I do not want to attack the cop involved in this because I do not have the facts, his department will handle that. I can tell you that they do/did not properly train the dogs or handlers. Like I said, I had to completely retrain my dog once I returned. Unfortunately I see Licklider's dogs everywhere and they are a mess.

Where do I sit on the lawsuit? Well, I don't want to see police departments lose their K9 programs because they are a priceless asset. However, having Licklider's dogs certified by an outside reliable source is not a bad idea. The problem is that I would venture to say the majority of his dogs would fail all patrol and narcotic certifications.

This is extremely unfortunate, but was inevitable. Like it or not, we as cops stand above the rest, morally. Well, we should stand above the rest. If your dog is not performing don't work him/her. Know K9 law, know your dog, train like your life depends on it. Above all, do the right thing. Don't be the cop who's responsible for bad case law.

There are a plethora of K9 vendors who sell quality dogs with quality training. Do your homework. You can actually get a better dog and better training cheaper elsewhere.

Good luck and be safe.

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