Police dog bite attacks on innocent bystanders occasionally happen, but the magnitude of the problem remains largely unknown.
The reason why innocent bystanders are frequently attacked is not difficult to understand considering the nature of attack trained police dogs. Namely, when these kinds of dogs are deployed in the field by their handlers, their are goal driven to find a human to attack, and occasionally the human is not the suspect they were deployed to apprehend. In short, these kinds of dogs when deployed in the field frequently make mistakes.
And these mistakes can be costly. For example, lawsuits are filed and the damages awarded can be substantial. A recently settled lawsuit against Pierce County in the state of Washington serves as an example. In 2011 a canine utilized by the Lakewood Police Department attacked a man who was taking his walk. Subsequently he underwent surgery.
The man settled the case against Pierce County for $225,000 in February 2014. Originally, the lawsuit asks for $3 million in damages. Not surprisingly, this same dog who attacked this man had a history of attacking other people. According to officials, the K9 was removed from duty.