HAWTHORNE (CBSLA.com) — Police in Hawthorne took part in a training course Friday to help officers better assess situations involving dogs.

The “Dog Behavior for Law Enforcement” course developed by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCLA) is designed to produce “more positive outcomes” when police officers have to interact with dogs during law enforcement operations, according to officials.

As part of the training, Hawthorne Police Department officers can control a situation involving canines without having to carry extra equipment.

“[It involves] useful material that they could use every day that they can retain easily that will help them when they’re approaching a family dog,” said SPCLA President Madeleine Bernstein.

The training course is the only one of its kind to be certified by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), the agency established by the state of California to set the standards of training for police officers.

Bernstein said the course will help make strides in police community relations after the June 2013 shooting of a Rottweiler who was fatally shot while its owner was detained by officers.

“The police department becomes demonized, the community gets nervous around officers and their dogs, and it does the dog no good to be shot,” she said.

The program has drawn interest from other police and sheriff’s departments around Southern California, according to Bernstein.

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