Marlon A. Walker
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A video of a Collinsville police officer answering questions about drug-dog training is raising questions of whether his tactics amount to evidence tampering and possibly set up innocent motorists for unfair roadside searches later.
Lodging in Collinsville (with Michael Reichert)
Officer Michael Reichert explains in a recording posted online that officers sometimes planted or smeared illicit drugs on vehicles parked overnight at businesses or motels, to test the dogs’ abilities.
The drugs would be retrieved, but he acknowledges that if the vehicle were stopped by other police later, a dog sniff could lead to the search of a motorist who would have no explanation for the scent.
The video, entitled “Lodging in Collinsville,” was put together by Terrance Huff, who earlier this year created “Breakfast in Collinsville.” It mocked Huff’s Dec. 4, 2011, traffic stop and drug search by Reichert as Huff and a friend passed through on the way home to Hamilton, Ohio, from a “Star Trek” exhibit in St. Louis.
Breakfast in Collinsville (with Michael Reichert)