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No changes for drogs dog use in SC
date: 27-January-2005
source : WISTV
editorial comment editorial comment
one more blow for constitutional rights...paraphernalia will eat dogs when it visits Korea or Vietnam and send Mr. Applegate a picture :) Sorry, Lassie!

(Lexington) Jan. 25, 2005 - Lexington County Sheriff's investigator Derek Applegate and his partner Spyro, a two-year-old Belgian Malinois, were on the hunt for cocaine on Tuesday evening.

In a new ruling, the US Supreme Court says during traffic stops, drug dogs can sniff around the outside of cars even if officers don't suspect a person has drugs inside. Applegate is glad for the support from the court, "It's always great when the highest court in the land backs us, especially with law enforcement, but particularly with the canines."

The ruling doesn't change anything in South Carolina, because officers already follow the policy endorsed by the court. Investigator Applegate says in his 12 years of experience, a drug dog like Spyro is typically only used if an officer has reason to believe a person has drugs.

Applegate pulled over a driver with a burned out tag light during a traffic stop Tuesday night. He saw nothing suspicious, so Spyro stayed in the car, "They're a very useful tool, but that's what they are, a tool for us and if I don't have a reason to deploy my dog, then I'm not going to."

Some, like David Kennison with the ACLU, argue the policy puts officers in dangerous situations, "Now if someone is afraid he's going to get in trouble because he has something in his trunk, in addition to a speeding ticket, it's going to lead to more confrontation between police officers and citizens."

Applegate has a different take, "It's a good balance for law enforcement and it's a good balance for the citizens and their constitutional rights and I like my constitutional rights too."

By Catherine Reynolds

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