Simulator could cut down on dog shootings by police (VIDEOS)

An initiative by the National Sheriffs’ Association to field a dog encounter simulator geared to responding law enforcement could save some of Man’s Best Friends.

A VirTra use-of-force simulator, developed over the past two years with the National Sheriffs’ Association as part of their Law Enforcement Dog Encounters Training program, is being fielded at the Harford County Sheriff’s Department in Maryland. The goal of the system is to cut down on lethal force encounters between police and canines, which can be both tragic to those involved and lead to seven-figure settlements from agencies.

“When an officer winds up shooting a dog, it rips right at the fabric of the community,” says NSA deputy executive director John Thompson in the above video from

The simulator is based on canine behavior science coupled with officer safety measures which are designed to help responders make safe decisions when interacting with pets under often stressful circumstances.

The Hartford program was launched in June and additional pilot programs are scheduled to occur in Orange County, Florida, and Oakland County, Michigan.

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