The whole situation in Tennessee continued to bother me a little. If the cops had found drugs it would have been a giant pain in the ass and a complete waste of time. What if there actually were drugs on the Chief and they just didn’t find them?
I got online and started doing research. It turns out that the statistics for dogs involved in drug interdiction work have highly variable success rates depending on the quality of their training, the bias of their handlers and the ultimate goal of the police. In high trafficking areas, the dogs are far more likely to alert… which gives the police probable cause to do a more thorough search. In one case study one dog alerted 93% of the time he was searching something. Of those, 50% of the alerts were false positives. But as far as the handlers were concerned, the high rate was acceptable because they already had a suspicion about the subject of the search. When nothing was found, the targets were just so happy to be on their way that they didn’t even consider the false positives could be a violation on their 4th amendment rights. I’m not smart on all the details…. but it’s not cool if that’s actually happening.
My point? I called the Maine state police and explained what had happened. I added that we’re about to drive across the country with 2 small kids. I wanted to know if there’s anything I could do in terms of having the vehicle checked again. ‘Sally’ (name changed to protect her stupidity) assured me that everything was fine and to proceed without giving it another thought. I started to say, “Great… when we’re crossing into Canada I’ll be sure to let them know that Sally, the person who answers a phone for the Maine police, told me the drug smell was totally fine and nothing to give a second thought…” Before getting snarky with the police, I thanked her, hung up and called the county sheriff.
The sheriff’s office was far more accommodating. I started out with, “Hi, this is Traci Warren. I have a bit of an odd request and I would like to start off with I am proud D.A.R.E. graduate and have no affiliation with drugs….” You think I’m kidding? Oh no. That’s a verbatim quote. Scott and Mom were listening and one of them almost spit out their drink and other couldn’t stop laughing in the background. The sheriff was actually at the scene of an accident about a mile from my mom’s house and they were more than happy to help.
John and Bosco, a working dog, showed up. Evie and Jack were excited to see a working dog. Evie later asked me how much he (the dog) got paid for “working” and was not impressed that he didn’t earn an honest wage. John had a look around the RV first and within a minute said, “Nope. No drugs on here. You’d smell it… the RV is an oven right now. The oils heat up and you can definitely smell it.” After a decent search by Bosco, it was the same response. Good to go. (Although I still have to wonder… what if it wasn’t pot… the dog would have smelled meth or crack too right?! totally creepy that I’m even thinking about what crack may smell like.)
As for Bosco, he’s 7 years old and from Slovakia. He’s never had a false positive. He lives with John and he’s been a very good investment by the sheriff’s office. He’s a beautiful dog and great with kids…. very playful. We didn’t let Boston near him… we all agreed that Boston would look too much like a snack to Bosco.
I feel so much better.
Final thought. What would have happened if Bosco had found drugs? Makes you wonder…