Community Police Review Commission on K-9 policy

Weeks after this news agency’s study of records revealed that the Richmond Police Department’s canines injured 73 people through their bites over the past six years – more than half of all injuries reported – a police monitoring group discussed the article’s findings but did not call for changes to the protocol.

In a special meeting Wednesday, Richmond’s The municipality’s police reporting commission, who is authorized to investigate allegations of excessive or unreasonable use of force by the department, reviewed the news item and the department’s use of police dogs.

Many of the commissioners questioned the number and severity of the damage and expressed frustration that the bites never came up in previous meetings.

But police officials who attended the meeting defended the use of K-9 units, arguing that dog bites are less deadly options for apprehending criminals than shots.

Acting Police Chief Louie Tirona said only 45 people were bitten out of the 620 times police dogs were brought out since 2018, accounting for 7% of all interactions.

While receptive to further investigative sessions on his officers’ use of police dogs, he complained that the data in the news report did not paint a comprehensive picture of all dog activities and instead focused solely on violent incidents.

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