UPDATE 12/28/21: SEE CANINE MODEL POLICY HERE.
The purpose of this policy is to set best practices for canine handlers in Washington state pursuant to Chapter 320, Laws of 2021 (ESHB 1054). Making our communities safer, reducing violence, and preserving lives must be at the forefront of all law enforcement work, including the use of police canines.
As described in WAC 139-05-915, canine teams working in the state of Washington shall be certified to the adopted standards as set by Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) policy.
As a condition of certification, each handler must ensure that the canine performs to a level that is deemed acceptable by the commission in the category for the team's intended use. In evaluating the proficiency of the canine team, evaluators use the standards approved by the commission for that particular discipline. Each certification issued pursuant to these rules will remain valid for 24 months, as long as the composition and responsibility of the canine team does not change.
To maintain certification active, a canine team must be evaluated prior to their certification expiration date.
A canine team's certification shall automatically expire if the specific handler and canine, originally paired at the time of certification, cease to perform canine team functions together or if the function for which the team was certified changes.
To review the full WSCJTC policy on Canine Certification, please click here.
Performance standards will vary depending on the canine teams's intended use. Review the documents below applicable to the canine team.
Interested in becoming a WSCJTC Certified Canine Evaluator? Those that meet the qualifications below are eligible to apply.
- Must be a fully commissioned WA Certified Peace Officer, WA Certified Tribal Police Officer, or Corrections Officer.
- Applicants must provide proof their employment is in good standing
- Must have four years of dog handler experience
- Applicant may provide this information in a resume format or letter
- Must be recognized as a trainer of canines by a professional organization of police and/or corrections dog handlers/trainers in the discipline they are applying.
- A letter from the professional organization of employer indicating what training and/or experience makes them eligible for this criteria must be provided.
- Must have certified to the WAC in the past in the discipline in which they are applying.
- Applicant may provide this information in a resume format, copies of past certifications, or letter.
- Must have completed the WSCJTC Instructor Development class or other approved WSCJTC instructor course.
- Copies of certificates or a letter explaining what training was completed that should be recognized as equivalent to the WSCJTC course.
- Must submit a letter from their agency supporting the applicant's position as an evaluator for the WSCJTC to certify teams on department time, as approved.
Download the application below, and submit your packet prior to the dates listed below. Mailed in packets will not be accepted; packets must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See the list of current Canine Evaluators here.
If you have any questions regarding Canine Certification, please contact the following staff:
The following forms are available for download and use.
The following associations offer various types of training in the police canine disciplines. The WSCJTC does not endorse any particular program; we are simply providing other avenues to obtaining training and/or certification in disciplines not covered under WAC 139-05-915.
- National Police Canine Association
- North American Police Working Dog Association
- United States Police Canine Association
- Washington State Police Canine Association
- Pacific Northwest Police Detection Dog Association
When searching for other Canine training, please choose the letter "C" in our training catalog.