RICHMOND – Police dogs in Chesapeake and throughout the Commonwealth may receive more practice sniffing out different kinds and quantities of drugs under a bill that passed a House subcommittee this morning.
When a police officer finds or seizes a stash of illegal drugs, but cannot determine who it belongs to, state law dictates it must be destroyed or turned over to the state Department of Forensic Science for training. Police would like the option to keep those drugs for in-house training before eventually destroying them, said Col. Mark Solesky of the Chesapeake Police Department.
HB1631 by Del. John Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake, would give them that option, with sign-off from the local Commonwealth’s Attorney.
The goal is to better train the department’s police dogs by exposing them to different quantities of different drugs, Solesky told the House Criminal Courts Subcommittee this morning. He said right now they only have access to small amounts – such as a half ounce of marijuana – which smell different to a canine’s sensitive schnoz than larger quantities – such as 10 pounds of marijuana.
The proposal, which now goes to the House Courts of Justice Committee, would also apply to other law enforcement agencies. The usual rules for safeguarding and keeping track of the drugs would apply, Solesky told the subcommittee.
-Kathy Adams, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot