The Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services is hosting a forum tomorrow (September 21st) in Washington DC to "bring together law enforcement leaders and subject matter experts to discuss canine encounters". COPS has published a number of policy papers on the subject of police shootings of dogs, including the ground-breaking The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters (the findings of which we have both praised and critiqued).

COPS explained the urgency behind the forum in their press release:

"Law enforcement often encounter canines in the line of duty, and when the canine encounter involves a shooting, the result can be a loss of public trust. It is critical to standardize effective strategies for canine encounters to ensure the safety of officers, the public, and canines during every call for service.  This forum is an opportunity for law enforcement executives and officers and subject matter experts to discuss best practices and effective communication strategies for law enforcement agencies to prevent and address the aftermath of a canine shooting."

The forum will be hosted by COPS Office Director Ronald Davis and John Thompson of the Deputy Executive Director and COO of the National Sheriff’s Association. The forum is to be moderated by Strategic Application International founder Jim Copple, and will be broken down into two separate panel discussions: "What is the Impact of Officer-Involved Canine Shootings?" and "Preventing Negative Law Enforcement Encounters with Canines". The event is taking place at the Washington Plaza Hotel and is open to the press.

Note: This post has been updated to include additional information about the forum panel discussions and the individuals hosting & moderating the forum