LEO Near Miss: Missing information leads to identifying wrong person as threat

Never assume that if a K-9 alerts, there is only one subject in the area of concern

Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Near Miss is a voluntary, non-disciplinary officer safety initiative that allows law enforcement personnel to read about and anonymously share stories of close calls or “near misses,” which provide lessons learned that can protect fellow officers in similar situations.


I was out on patrol with my K-9 partner when I was dispatched to a burglary in progress. The dispatcher noted that the reporting party was the next-door neighbor who was watching the house (the house was on record that the owners were out of town and the neighbor was watching it for them).

Upon arrival, I entered the house with my K-9 through the front door that was ajar. From the living room, I called out, “Police! Come out or I’ll send the dog.” I repeated this at least once and my K-9 was alerting to the recliner in the corner of the living room. I released my dog and drew my side arm. Just then, a teenager stood up from behind the recliner holding a cordless phone in his left hand. This turned out to be the neighbor who did not inform the dispatcher that he was actually in the house at the time.

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