Supreme Court Needs to Rein In Dog Searches

We need better restrictions on how far police can go: Jeffrey Meyer

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 17, 2012 12:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – It may not be the most high-profile issue on this year's Supreme Court docket, but two cases coming up later this month have the potential to affect our privacy in profound ways, writes Jeffrey A. Meyer in the New York Times. Both involve police dogs, and how far authorities may go in using them before violating Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

For example: Should police be able to bring a dog onto the porch of a house, without a warrant, to try to get a whiff of drugs inside? No, writes Meyer. "If the police can’t thermal-scan your home from the street, why let them dog-scan it from your front porch?" Let them do this, and soon police might set up dog-sniffing checkpoints outside schools, supermarkets, you name it. What's worse, "today’s dogs will give way to tomorrow’s high-tech contraband-scanning devices" that will be used under the same principle. Let's stop this now and preserve American privacy, writes Meyer. Read his full column here.

In this file photo, a police dog searches for drugs in a car at a canine competition.
In this file photo, a police dog searches for drugs in a car at a canine competition.   (AP Photo/Tamara Lush)
A file photo of Miami-Dade narcotics detector canine Franky.
A file photo of Miami-Dade narcotics detector canine Franky.   (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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