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EdPDLaw welcomes K-9 Expert Deputy Terry Fleck from Lake Tahoe, California to the Team

Terry Fleck, Ed.D., is a Deputy Sheriff II/Canine Handler (Ret.) in South Lake Tahoe, California. Deputy Terry Fleck has 23 years in the handling and training of patrol K-9’s, crossed trained for search and rescue, narcotics detection, evidence recovery, cadaver recovery and tracking/trailing. He is an expert in the field of canines and author of numerous publications.  He is a leading authority in the canine industry on current case law and legal trends. He possesses a degree of Doctor of Education in Criminal Justice and has taught over 13,000 canine handlers, supervisors, administrators, agency attorneys and risk managers nationwide.

If you are a canine officer and require an expert for litigation that you are currently involved in, you may retain Deputy Terry Fleck as your expert. Expert fees are normally covered and included in your Union’s Legal Defense Plan, check with your Union President or Administrator. View Resume

EdPDLaw interviewed Deputy Fleck who offered the following:


Terry offers the following advice to current handlers on additional compensation  for your responsibilities:

  • Under the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), canine handlers MUST be compensated for “at home care” of their canine. As decided in Federal Court: The “appropriate” minimum compensation time is :30 minutes per day, seven days per week which totals a minimum of 3.5 hours a week.
  • This time must be compensated as follows:
    • Either, it is incorporated into the handler’s work week, i.e., the handler works a 36.5 hour work week, but is compensated for 40 hours, giving him the  3.5 hours off as credit for the “at-home care” of the dog; or,
    • Paid Overtime: If this method is utilized, the handler would receive the additional 3.5 hours a week as paid overtime, at the rate of time and one-half.
  • If the Agency owns the dog, the Agency/Department should pay the costs of:
    • Training
    • Housing
    • Food
    • Medical Costs


Although there have only been a couple of documented canine “saves” by a bullet resistant vest, most agencies provide them as a piece of safety equipment. Bullet resistant vests over heat the dog, and therefore, most agencies only use them during high risk searches where weapons are involved.

Since the community believes these vests save dog’s lives, they are not only a piece of safety equipment but a public relations tool as well. They are routinely shown on the dogs during public demonstrations of the dog’s skills.



  • Minimum of 3 years in the patrol division
  • Ability to complete the Physical Fitness & Agility Test
    • This test is specially tailored to the tasks of a canine handler. For example, where ever the dog goes, the handler must follow, i.e., over a 6’ wall, through a tunnel, etc.
  • Officers that already have a pet should note that there could be problems.  This is dog specific, some dogs integrate well with other pets, some do not.


  • The dog should be a minimum of 18 months old. This may vary from dog to dog, depending on their maturity rate.  It MUST be physically and mentally fit. This cannot be evaluated fully in a puppy. Typically the dog is tested at a minimum of 18 months of age, when they begin to mature.
  • Breed depends on the task:
    • Patrol dogs:
      • German Shepherds and Belgium Malinois.
    • Contraband dogs:
      • The two listed above plus Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Springer Spaniels, etc.


  • Length of Training varies anywhere from 200 to 640 hours, depending on prior training of the dog and his service discipline.
  • Certification Requirements:  The team should not be certified by anyone with a perceived conflict of interest. Examples would be anyone with a financial interest in the dog, the handler and the trainer. The team must be certified prior to deployment.
  • Re-Certification Requirements:  The United States Canine Industry standard is yearly certification.


Departments need to designate a K-9 unit supervisor to be specifically responsible to oversee the dog and/or the handler. This responsibility should not fall on the shift commander, but on a separate individual who is properly trained and familiar with supervising K-9 units.


  • Veterinarians should be chosen based upon their experience with WORKING dogs. Police dogs are athletic and therefore, concerns such as nutrition, physical conditioning, etc., are different from those of a pet.
  •  24 hour availability is important. Typically, one veterinary hospital is used, unless two are needed for 24 hour coverage.


  • Seek immediate medical attention for the suspect
  • Take color photographs of the injury ONLY after medical treatment.
  • Take dog to the vet if it is injured and document the injury(s) in the police report.

Sample IACP Policies

Sample Policy & Procedure

          CASE LAW

Deputy Fleck has an extensive Case Law Library for both the officers’ and attorneys’ use.


Deputy Fleck may be contacted at:

             k9fleck@aol.com or by telephone at 530-545-2855

He is available for seminars, training and to act as an expert for the K-9 officer.

This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

© 2007 Excessive Discipline Protection Database