Rogue Cops and Wild Dogs: An Analysis of Media Representation of Police Canines Units

Chloe A. Tischler, Radford University

The use of police dogs gained notoriety during civil unrest during the 1960's. Since then the news media have played a continuing and vital role in the information the public receives about the use or misuse of police canine units. Does the news media more frequently report on the successful use of police canine units in "fighting" crime or is there a tendency, as some police experts maintain, to paint these specialized units as a band of lawless officers who are roaming the streets, allowing innocent or unsuspecting parties to be furiously attacked by their vicious four legged partners. This paper reports on the findings of a content analysis of regional news coverage of the amount and type of "positive" or "negative" reports involving the use of police dogs or canine units.

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Updated 05/20/2006