WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday sided with a drug-sniffing German shepherd named Aldo in ruling that police do not have to extensively document a dog’s expertise to justify relying on the animal to search someone’s vehicle.
The unanimous court overturned a Florida Supreme Court ruling. That court had thrown out a 2006 search of a truck after Aldo ‘‘alerted’’ to the smell of drugs, saying police must compile detailed evidence of the dog’s reliability before establishing probable cause to search the truck.
Justice Elena Kagan said the Florida court had gone too far. She suggested that proper training and certification of the dog — rather than how it has performed in the field — might be enough for law enforcement’s purposes.
‘‘The question — similar to every inquiry into probable cause — is whether all the facts surrounding a dog’s alert, viewed through the lens of common sense, would make a reasonably prudent person think that a search would reveal contraband or evidence of a crime,’’ Kagan wrote. ‘‘A sniff is up to snuff when it meets that test. . . . Aldo’s did.’’