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Edmonton's first police dog becomes comic book hero
Day of the Dog Squad pays tribute to Edmonton Police canine unit

By Radio Active, CBC News Posted: Jan 14, 2016 6:00 AM MT| Last Updated: Jan 14, 2016 6:00 AM MT

Step aside Snoopy, a new comic book dog is vying for readers attention.

The Legacy of Heroes: Day of the Dog Squad comic book was released by the Edmonton Police Service on Tuesday. It tells the true story of Sgt. Val Vallevand, who started the police department's canine unit over 50 years ago. In the comic, Vallevand's trusty dog Sarge sniffs out suspects and wins over the approval of the skeptical police chief.

 

Vallevand first pitched the idea of forming a dog squad in 1963, but it didn't go over that well, said friend Sgt. Major Gary Cook.

"The Chief wasn't thrilled with the idea but decided to give Val and his dog Sarge a chance," he said. "There was this reluctance back in those days of using this new tool that was basically untested."

But Vallevand saw the potential in following in the policing paw prints already laid by the RCMP and the Vancouver Police Service.

"He was raised in Saskatchewan, a farm boy," said Cook. "He had this passion for policing and, at the same time, dogs and animals so he saw the RCMP, he saw Vancouver [and] other agencies take this very innovative road of using a canine in capturing the bad guys."

Sarge eventually proved his worth when an investigator suggested Vallevand take him into an abandoned warehouse to find a suspect's hiding spot.

"Within moments after searching this huge warehouse they had the bad guy," he said, "The proof was in the pudding as it were."

The illustrated tale is a fitting tribute for Vallevand, a self-taught artist, who died in 1994.

One of his paintings, a self-portrait of him and Sarge responding to a call, still hangs on the wall at the EPS kennels, which are also named in Vallevand's honour.

Day of the Dog Squad is the third installment in the Legacy of Heroes comic series about EPS history. It was written by Jeff Awid and illustrated by Jared Robinson.

The dog squad was formally recognized in 1967. (EPS/illustrated by Jared Robinson)

 

 


 

NEW -  Quanto's law receives Royal Ascent (Jun 23 2015)

This marks a historic day for law enforcement and is long due.

 

Federal government to move on ‘Quanto’s Law’

By Staff The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – The federal government is signalling it will create new legislation to protect animals that work with police.

In its speech from the throne Wednesday, the government said it will bring forward “Quanto’s Law” in honour of a police dog that was killed in Edmonton earlier this month. 

Police complained after Quanto was stabbed during the takedown of a fleeing suspect that the strongest criminal charge that could be laid was cruelty to an animal.

Read more: Officers call for stronger laws to protect police dogs.

The throne speech did not specify what Quanto’s Law would entail.

A private member’s bill to amend the Criminal Code is already before the House of Commons.

Brought forward by Ontario Conservative MP Costas Menegakis, it singles out anyone “who knowingly or recklessly poisons, injures or kills a law enforcement animal,” including a horse or dog, and proposes the same five-year maximum penalty that animal cruelty carries.

Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay publicly offered his support to the bill in the wake of Quanto’s death.

Menegakis said he was actually inspired to act by the death of Brigadier, a Toronto police horse that had to be put down after police said he was deliberately struck by a driver they were trying to pull over in 2006.

There was a push at that time for Brigadier’s Law, but nothing happened until Menegakis’s bill was tabled earlier this year.

While the proposed amendment carries the same penalty as animal cruelty, the change is more than symbolic, Menegakis said last week.

“This takes this particular penalty and puts it in the Criminal Code under the police and peacekeeping officers section so it kind of forces the judicial system to apply the law in every case where a service animal is maliciously attacked,” Menegakis said.

“When you look at the actual penalties you can apply, you can get carried away on emotion. I would have liked a lot bigger penalties but there is human life and there is animal life, as well. There is a difference. I wanted it to be something that made sense.”

The MP said last week he was looking for another backbencher to carry the bill forward because he was recently named a parliamentary secretary and can no longer table private member’s bills.

Alberta’s justice minister has said he supports the federal bill and that the province is considering changing the Service Dog Act to include provisions that would punish people who harm the animals.

 


 

 Remembering Quanto (video)

 


 

 

Mountie's answer to pain: suicide
What he witnessed as an RCMP officer led to years of mental anguish



Ken Barker, a retired RCMP corporal who was a dog handler for the force, took his own life last weekend after struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder for years.

Suicides by Mounties in recent years:
◾June 2014 -- Michel Page, 55, who retired from the RCMP after 28 years of service and was working as an instructor at the NBCC Dieppe for the Police Foundations program, committed suicide in New Brunswick.
◾July 2013 -- Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre, the senior RCMP spokesman for the force in B.C. who bore the brunt of criticism that the RCMP had misled the public about the Taser death of Robert Dziekanski, hanged himself in his home.
◾Nov. 2012 -- Const. Martin Bouchard, of Alberta, committed suicide at age 45, after working 19 years with the RCMP. His first posting was in Minnedosa and he also served in Wasagaming, Shamattawa and Selkirk. He committed suicide four days after turning in his badge.



Family and former colleagues said the 51-year-old, who retired last month, had already seen almost two decades of horrific crime scenes when he witnessed the grisly scene on the bus: Tim McLean was stabbed, mutilated and beheaded by Vince Li, who was later found not criminally responsible because of mental illness.

That was "the straw that broke the camel's back," his estranged wife, Shari, said.

Barker's family said they are talking about the death in the hope more Mounties will seek help.

"This was PTSD -- very much so," Shari Barker said Wednesday. "We feel it was his illness that took his life. He struggled with it for a long time."

Ken Barker's sister, Wendy Walder, said: "Maybe this is his path, maybe this is his purpose."

"His death was not in vain if this can help some person. For Kenny, that's success."

While family members say the beheading was the most traumatic incident Barker witnessed, the former officer said it wasn't the only one.

"Ken always said he didn't want to be known as the Greyhound guy," Shari said. "He said it first started at his first posting in Nanaimo, (B.C). The Greyhound incident was just one of many... it was multiple, cumulative and he was just a sensitive fellow. I think he was predisposed because of his nature."


'His death was not in vain if this can help some person. For Kenny, that's success'
-- Wendy Walder, Ken Barker's sister

Shari said it was also tough on him because unlike other RCMP members who could speak to a partner or fellow officers, Barker had only his dog.

"Ken would go home with a dog. How do you get over it when you're just with a dog?"

Barker, who had two adult children, had been on medical leave since October.

Shari said his illness didn't just force him to retire -- it also cost him his marriage. "Today (Wednesday) would have been our 26th anniversary," she said, her voice cracking. "Ken and I separated three years ago. PTSD did it. It cost him on many levels."

The two women said Barker did get psychiatric help while with the RCMP and during his short retirement, but they both said the force has to do more to address the stigma attached to its members battling mental illness.

"There's a lot of people who don't buy into it," Barker said. "There's just ignorance and people not believing it is real and not a real illness like cancer."

Walder said her brother "was a kind, sensitive, tender heart."

"This maybe wasn't the career path for him. He cared too much for people. He worried about their safety and happiness.

"He led with his feet, his passion and helping anyone he could, but he couldn't turn it off."

Walder said her brother's treatment was coming along -- and while he was still a dog handler, he was stationed at the airport and bus depots instead of responding to slayings -- but last fall things began changing.

"With Vince Li getting in the paper about his walks, he started getting flashbacks," she said.

"It was a very rapid decline in the last six months... he sent text messages like 'I think I'm too broken to ever be fixed' and he would also say 'I wish I had cancer because then people would understand.' "

The two women rescued Barker from a suicide attempt in May, but no one got to him in time this past weekend.

"He would say the front door will be open and don't go into the basement. Shari went there and the front door was open and she called for him and he didn't respond. She knew not to go to the basement. She called the paramedics."

RCMP Assist. Commissioner Gilles Moreau, in a phone interview from Ottawa, said the force offers its condolences to Barker's family.

"When one of our own leaves us like this, we are all touched by this," Moreau said.

"I've considered suicide in the past... If we can teach the entire organization to intervene, at least we might be able to get people the help they need early."

Moreau said the force already offers help to its members and a five-year mental-health strategy, announced in May, will provide more.

Its objectives include improving employee understanding in the intervention of psychological problems, reducing the presence and effects of psychological risks and measuring the force's psychological health-and-safety performance annually.

A recent audit found 38 per cent of RCMP members who are on long-term sick leave said mental-health problems are to blame.

"We know in the past, the organization has not been as solid as it should have been," Moreau said. "Are (the mental-health-strategy plans) perfect and magic? Absolutely not, but they are the best that's out there."

Lori Wilson, founder of the Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness, said not a week goes by that she doesn't hear about a current or former RCMP member facing a mental-health crisis.

"They are trained to be in control and control their emotions when in chaos," said Wilson, whose husband was diagnosed with PTSD. "But what happens after that?

"We try to do our best to get them a fellow member to talk to. We've even had them taken to hospital. Let us give them the tools. Let us do six-month checkups. Let us have a list of where they were before and are now. And let us talk to families.

"Unless you include the family, you will not see the signs. It's the family that sees the changes and if they are educated, they can catch it earlier."

Steve Walker, a retired Manitoba Mountie who has PTSD and for the final five years of his 31-year career worked on occupational stress as a labour representative, said Barker did get the help he needed.

"He was well taken care of," Walker said. "We don't want people to fall into that black abyss where people are not cared for. But in 48 hours, someone suffering from PTSD can spin into a black hole -- it can happen that quickly."

Walker said it's especially stressful for officers in smaller communities, including aboriginal reserves, because they don't have paramedics and medical examiners to help them at a crime scene, including putting bodies in body bags.

"These things have a corrosive effect on human beings."

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 17, 2014 A3

 


 

 
Dave Ross ID'd as one of the Mounties killed in Moncton shooting

Another slain Mountie had 3 children, RCMP say

CBC News Posted: Jun 05, 2014 12:43 PM ET| Last Updated: Jun 06, 2014 4:14 AM ET 

Const. David Ross, pictured here with his wife on his wedding day, was one of three Mounties killed in Moncton, N.B., on Wednesday night.

Const. David Ross, a Quebec-born Mountie who had lived in New Brunswick for seven years, has been identified as one of three RCMP officers killed in Moncton, N.B., Wednesday night.

Ross was a married father of a 19-month-old with another baby on the way, his mother-in-law told CBC News.

Tributes continued to pour in Thursday for the slain officers. The RCMP have yet to officially release their names but described one officer as having three children.

Police apprehended the 24-year-old man suspected in the shootings early Friday.

Roger Brown​, RCMP assistant commissioner, told a news conference that RCMP officials met with family members of the slain Mounties Thursday morning.

"As you can well imagine, they're hurting. There's actually no way to describe the level of hurt," Brown said.

Brown added that the focus of this incident needs to be brought back to the families of the officers killed or wounded.

"We have one of our members with three children. And you know, these are, these are real-life situations," he said.

The two wounded officers underwent surgery Thursday. One was still hospitalized, and the other was released, the RCMP said.

Codiac RCMP Supt. Marlene Snowman told the news conference that officers were dispatched after receiving a call Wednesday afternoon about a man on a Moncton road who was believed to have a firearm.

She said the shooting occurred while the gunman was on the road, and when he moved into the woods.

"[The shooting] occurred over a period of time, a short period of time," she said.

RCMP Const. Damien Theriault said on CBC's Information Morning in Moncton that he had "lost three friends," but that "we are professionals and we have a job to do right now. We will have time to grieve after."

Support comes in from across N.B, Canada

Police officers from Saint John were deployed to Moncton to help with the manhunt.

'An attack against members of the Codiac RCMP is an attack against all police in New Brunswick.'—Bruce Connell, Saint John deputy police chief

Bruce Connell, the deputy chief in Saint John, issued a news release Thursday expressing support for his RCMP colleagues.

“An attack against members of the Codiac RCMP is an attack against all police in New Brunswick,” Connell said in his statement.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the shootings are "a stark reminder that our men and women in law enforcement put their lives on the line in Canada every day to protect our citizens and communities."

Gov. Gen. David Johnston said RCMP officers may "understand the risks that come with the uniform, but always defend our communities with bravery and courage.

"Today, we remember the sacrifice of these three officers, a tragic loss we all feel," he said.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson offered his thought and prayers "with the families of our fallen members."

"We are making sure that families and members are taken care of."

 


 

 

Joseph Prevett, Thunder Bay police officer, dead after OPP training exercise

Thunder Bay Police Const. Joe Prevett was 50 years old

 

Constable Joe Prevett with his former police service dog, Thunder, in December 2013. (Josh Lynn/CBC)

 

Close to 20 police dogs led Prevett's funeral procession down Arthur Street — a tribute OPP Constable Dan Bailey said was fitting.

"He had great love and a passion for the K-9 program. Joe loved doing what he was doing," Bailey said.

"Joe enjoyed life. But you know what? Joe enjoyed the K-9 program, he really did. "

Bailey is a fellow dog handler who's known Prevett for close to a decade. He walked with Prevett's dog, Timber, during the march to St. Patrick's Cathedral.

"[Joe] loved policing, he comes from a family where four other brothers are well known police officers," Bailey continued.

"He'll be well missed, but he will be remembered, he won't be forgotten. It's nice to see the support that comes from all around the province, the country and also outside the country."

Thunder Bay police service inspector Alan McKenzie agreed.

"People are coming from out of town ... two officers from Halifax, officers from the states, Victoria, BC, all across Canada," he noted.

No one would have suspected that Prevett, who "was a very healthy, young, vibrant person," would be gone so soon, McKenzie said.

"Joe was a great friend to a lot of people. He was compassionate about his job. He was empathetic to the people of our community. So it's important we take this time to show how proud we are of the job he did for us," he said.

"He was always professional. He was someone I wanted other officers to idolize, and to say 'this is what I aspire to'." 

K9 Teams Lead by Joe's Police Service dog Timber


 

 


 

 

May 7, 2014


TBPS Officer Dies

It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of Constable Joseph Prevett.

Constable Prevett was participating in a K-9 training exercise near Gravenhurst, Ontario at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning when he collapsed. He was rushed to hospital in medical distress. He died a short time later.

Constable Joseph Prevett was participating in a training course with the Ontario Provincial Police along with his new police service dog Timber.

Constable Prevett began his policing career in 1998 with Peel Regional Police. He became a member of the Thunder Bay Police Service in 2003. Joe was a member of the Emergency Task Unit of the T.B.P.S. where he was assigned as a police service dog handler. He leaves a wife and family behind. He was 50 years of age at the time of his death.

Constable Prevett was a valued member of the Thunder Bay Police Service. He will be sadly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing and serving with him.

Funeral arrangements are pending. The Ministry of Labour and the Ontario Provincial Police are investigating the incident.

A special Facebook page will be set up by the Thunder Bay Police Service to receive condolences and provide information for funeral/memorial arrangements.

(Photo of Cst. Prevett is attached)

https://www.facebook.com/thunderbaypolice


For Further Information Contact:
Chris Adams, Executive Officer
Thunder Bay Police Service
684-1248

A Thunder Bay police officer has died while away at a K-9 training exercise near Gravenhurst, Ont.

Police say Const. Joseph [Joe] Prevett, 50, collapsed at about 10:45 a.m. ET Wednesday while participating in an Ontario Provincial Police training course with his new police service dog, Timber. Prevett was rushed to hospital in medical distress and died a short time later.

'You can't pass anybody in this building and not hear them say only positive things about Joe … Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.'- JP Levesque, Thunder Bay police Chief

The Ministry of Labour and the Ontario Provincial Police are investigating the death.

Thunder Bay police made the announcement with "profound sadness" in a news release Wednesday afternoon.

Prevett was a police service dog handler with the police service's Emergency Task Unit. He joined the Thunder Bay Police Service in 2003 and began his policing career in 1998 with Peel Regional Police.

"Constable Prevett was a valued member of the Thunder Bay Police Service," the news release said. "He will be sadly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing and serving with him."

At a news conference at police headquarters, Chief JP Levesque paid tribute to the officer. "You can't pass anybody in this building and not hear them say only positive things about Joe … Our thoughts and prayers are with the family."

Both Premier Kathleen Wynne and Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath expressed their condolences on Wednesday.

"We take great pride in the service and sacrifice of our first responders," Wynne said in a statement.

"Constable Prevette is just one of thousands of heroes in life, who go to work every day to make Ontario communities safe."

Horwath echoed that sentiment, saying: "The death of Constable Prevett is reminder that the work done by police is rarely easy, even during training exercises. I know the community of Thunder Bay will rally around Constable Prevett’s family and colleagues, to support them in this difficult time.”

Prevett leaves behind a wife and family.

Funeral arrangements are pending. A special Facebook page will be set up by the Thunder Bay Police Service to receive condolences and provide information for funeral/memorial arrangements.

 


 

Thunder Bay K9 Officer dies during training exercise in Gravenhurst 

The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, May 7, 2014 4:03PM EDT



GRAVENHURST, Ont.
-- Thunder Bay, Ont., police say one of their canine officers is dead after collapsing Wednesday morning during a training exercise in Gravenhurst.

The force says Const. Joseph Prevett was participating in a training course with Ontario Provincial Police along with his new police service dog Timber.

Provincial police say Prevett, 50, was rushed to hospital in medical distress and died there a short time later.

Prevett began his policing career in 1998 with Peel Regional Police, and became a member of the Thunder Bay Police Service in 2003.

Prevett, described as a valued member of the Thunder Bay police force, leaves a wife and family.

The Ministry of Labour and the provincial police are investigating the incident.

Thunder Bay police say a special Facebook page will be set up to receive condolences and provide information for funeral and memorial arrangements.


 

 


 

Federal government to move on ‘Quanto’s Law’       Note: BILL C35 Legislation can be seen in the Members Only area

By Staff The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – The federal government is signalling it will create new legislation to protect animals that work with police.

In its speech from the throne Wednesday, the government said it will bring forward “Quanto’s Law” in honour of a police dog that was killed in Edmonton earlier this month.

Police complained after Quanto was stabbed during the takedown of a fleeing suspect that the strongest criminal charge that could be laid was cruelty to an animal.

Read more: Officers call for stronger laws to protect police dogs.

The throne speech did not specify what Quanto’s Law would entail.

A private member’s bill to amend the Criminal Code is already before the House of Commons.

Brought forward by Ontario Conservative MP Costas Menegakis, it singles out anyone “who knowingly or recklessly poisons, injures or kills a law enforcement animal,” including a horse or dog, and proposes the same five-year maximum penalty that animal cruelty carries.

Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay publicly offered his support to the bill in the wake of Quanto’s death.

Menegakis said he was actually inspired to act by the death of Brigadier, a Toronto police horse that had to be put down after police said he was deliberately struck by a driver they were trying to pull over in 2006.

There was a push at that time for Brigadier’s Law, but nothing happened until Menegakis’s bill was tabled earlier this year.

While the proposed amendment carries the same penalty as animal cruelty, the change is more than symbolic, Menegakis said last week.

“This takes this particular penalty and puts it in the Criminal Code under the police and peacekeeping officers section so it kind of forces the judicial system to apply the law in every case where a service animal is maliciously attacked,” Menegakis said.

“When you look at the actual penalties you can apply, you can get carried away on emotion. I would have liked a lot bigger penalties but there is human life and there is animal life, as well. There is a difference. I wanted it to be something that made sense.”

The MP said last week he was looking for another backbencher to carry the bill forward because he was recently named a parliamentary secretary and can no longer table private member’s bills.

Alberta’s justice minister has said he supports the federal bill and that the province is considering changing the Service Dog Act to include provisions that would punish people who harm the animals.

 


 

Police dogs compete in 'Iron Dog' Competition in Ottawa

Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa
Published Thursday, May 1, 2014 5:17PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 1, 2014 7:04PM EDT


Forty members of the police canine unit from across the country were competing in an Iron Dog competition in Ottawa, with the winners taking the “barking” rights for the best team.

Most of the dogs competing were German Shepherds, elite athletes, raring to go. They are eighty pounds of pure muscle, teamed up with their equally muscular handlers, who are police officers from police agencies across Canada.

“Awesome, I feel great,” says one officer as he leads his dog to the start of the race, held at the Connaught Range and Primary Training Centre in Ottawa. The course is a grueling 4 kilometers, over rough terrain, through obstacles and water. It starts almost immediately with a dip in a very icy pond, something many of the dogs were not particularly keen on. But they are police dogs and their mission is to follow suspects no matter where they go.


"If the suspect goes across water, says Sergeant Jamie Soltendieck with the Ottawa Police Canine Unit, “they're sent on that water surface and the dog will pull them into the water. As you can see here,” says Sgt. Soltendieck, as a police officer leads his dog through the water behind him, “this lad here is swimming, the dog is doing the dog paddle for sure.”

The Iron Dog competition is the last leg of a week-long seminar in Ottawa for the Canadian Police Canine Association. 100 participants representing 35 different police agencies from across Canada and the United States attended the conference, including Cst. Matt Williamson, with the Edmonton Police Service, whose police dog Quanto was killed while pursuing a suspect last year. The federal government then introduced Quanto’s Law to give harsher punishments to people who attack police dogs.

Back at the course, Cst. Jon Zielinski with the Victoria Police says the Iron Dog competition is important for both he and his dog, “It’s a learning experience and putting the dog in an environment he's not used to is good for both of us. I see how he reacts to it and see how I react to it.”

Sometimes, the dogs make it look so easy and sometimes not, as one handler tries to coax his reluctant animal into a hole filled with water. Another obstacle involves hoisting their 80-pound dog over a fence.

"They don't like being off their feet,” says Constable Cam Cooper with the Barrie Police Service, “but you make it quick and painless for them and get over and done with.”

The course is supposed to simulate real-life situations, where a good partnership is critical between man and dog.

Constable Dave Wert with the Kirkland Lake OPP says "It was very challenging. Lots of new things for my dog. I just can't get too flustered if things aren't going well.”

By the end of the course, the handlers may have been pooped but their pooches had plenty of energy left for a game of tug of war. 


See CTV news clip (click here)

 

Top dogs compete in Ottawa; More than 100 K9 officers attend seminar and Iron Dog competition in Kanata

Ottawa South News
By Adam Kveton

With tails wagging and fur flying, one of the largest police dog seminars in Canada ended with a K9 competition to find the country's top dog.

The Ottawa police service hosted the largest Canadian Police Canine Association seminar in the group's history, with more than 100 of North America's top dogs attending on May 1.

The seminar, which aimed to have K9 units across the country share their training and experience, took place over four days at the Bonnenfant Centre in Dunrobin. The seminar wrapped up with the Iron Dog competition - an intense obstacle course for dogs and their handlers which took place at the Connaught Range and Primary Training Centre in Kanata.

Dozens of dogs and their partners waded through muddy water, crawled through pipes and made their way over various other obstacles, often with handlers having to lift and coax their canine counterparts through some parts of the course.

But all of that is part of the daily routine for K9 unit officers and their dogs, said Ottawa police Sgt. Jamie Soltendieck, Ottawa's K9 program co-ordinator and one of the main organizers of the seminar.

"It's a fun event that we put on usually at the end of the week so the dogs can get out and burn up some energy," he said. "It's all stuff that you encounter on a daily basis when you are working in operations with your dog."

Though competition is friendly, Soltendieck said everyone there is out to be "top dog."

The Canadian Police Canine Association is the largest police canine group in Canada, though its base tends to be in western Canada, said Soltendieck. Holding the largest seminar in the association's history in Ottawa was a big step in bringing more central and eastern Canadian K9 units into the fold, he said.

"The CPCA has a strong base in western Canada. It's always been that way. We've had some agencies from Ontario in it over the years, but we wanted to work hard to try to bring it further out east, to Ontario and beyond, so I think by all accounts it looks like we've been affective at doing that."

The seminar was likely a success thanks to the instructors who came out, said Soltendieck. While instructors from across the country came to lend a hand, many from the U.S.came as well.

The seminar offered several training opportunities including medical training for major canine trauma, the use of newly developed camera technology for police dogs, narcotics and explosives tracking and more.

K9 units will be taking what they've learned to help improve their programs and use their dogs more safely and more effectively in their home cities.

As for the winners of the Iron Dog competition, Soltendieck wouldn't say.

"All of our participants took something of value from the seminar and were winners," he said.

 


 

 

The following News items have been produced by media outlets from across the country. Check back regularly for daily updates.

Media stories are posted starting with the most recent.

 


 

 

St. Thomas Police Service unveils new canine unit

By Ben Forrest, St. Thomas Times-Journal

Thursday, August 29, 2013 5:40:20 EDT PM 

Const. Sean James and police dog Trax, who comprise the first canine unit in the history of the St. Thomas Police Service,                                                         participated in a media day on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 at Pinafore Park in St. Thomas. Also pictured are Charlotte Keillor,                                                                left, and Trinity Trottier, two winners of a contest to name Trax that took place earlier this year. The other winner was                                                                 Ryleigh Brayman, 6, of St. Thomas. Ben Forrest/QMI Agency/Times-Journal 


Const. Sean James says being in a canine unit was something he wanted to do since he started policing 10 years ago.

Every year he made clear he was interested in that position if it became available.

"Obviously when it came available I tried my hardest," said James, who recently became the human half of the first canine unit in the history of the St. Thomas Police Service.

"I did a lot of physical fitness work, as well as just training … It's pretty exciting."

James begins another four-months of intense training next week with his partner Trax, a black purebred shepherd police dog who will help with missing persons cases, apprehending suspects, drug investigations and community outreach.

The pair met the media Thursday at Pinafore Park in St. Thomas and the police service hopes they will be operational by the start of the new year, said Chief Darryl Pinnell.

"It's a great day for our police service and I think (Trax) will be a good representative of our service, as will Sean James," Pinnell said.

The canine unit was established with a provincial grant and many donations from the community, including one from Stuart Harper of HIRA Construction to cover the cost of Trax himself.

Other businesses donated the building materials for kennels and food and the police service hopes veterinary services will be supplemented in some way.

"Without the help of the community, none of this would have been possible," Pinnell said.

"We understand that bringing a canine unit to the service is an expensive endeavour, but for the most part all of those costs have been covered outside of our operational budget, save and except us providing the officer, which we deployed from our current authorized strength."

The London Police Service helped select James as a canine officer, physically testing him and other candidates and helping with an interview process. London police will also train James and Trax starting in September.

"Without all of those things happening for us, there's absolutely no way a police service our size could have done this," Pinnell said.

Trax will live with James and his family and their other dog, a Mastiff named Bella. When James is on duty, Trax will travel with him in a specially-equipped vehicle that has a kennel in it. There is also a kennel in a police service garage where Trax can stay, Pinnell said.

"But the dog is a family member," he said. "It's a family member for Sean when he's not working."

The service life of a police dog is usually between five and seven years and upon retirement he could end up with James' family.

"Those are all things we have to figure out as we go," Pinnell said.

Trax has a name that references both his role as a police dog, and the identity of the St. Thomas community. Three St. Thomas children chose the name in a contest earlier this summer: Ryleigh Brayman and Charlotte Keillor, both six years old, and Trinity Trottier, 13.

As for James, he said he has a huge love for animals and how police dogs work.

"It's unbelievable the way they can sense so much better than we can," he said. "I can't wait for the enjoyment of (Trax) hitting on something and knowing that he's found something when no one else has an idea."

James will wear a tactical-style uniform when he's on duty, one with extra-durable fabric that's designed to not get torn by trees and branches, he said.

"When you're searching you're not usually searching in normal areas," he said. "It's very thick and rugged."

As for the significance of being the first canine officer in the history of his police force, James said he's never been so proud.

"It's comparable to the birth of my daughter, and when they announced that I was the one that got the position I couldn't believe it," he said. "(I was) very, very excited.

"I'll obviously give it may all. I don't want to fail. It's something I really want to be a success." 
 

 

 


 

New canine patrol for Niagara Parks Police

Cinder and handler Const. Tom Szczygiel

Saturday Sept 21,2013

When an illness sidelined the first police service dog at the Niagara Parks Police, the agency knew she would be hard to replace.

"Nia was very friendly and she loved people," said handler Const. Tom Szczygiel.

"She gave lots of kisses and she was a bit hit with everyone."

The German shepherd was recently diagnosed with a chronic disease which meant her days as a police dog were effectively over.

"Although her tenure was cut short due to illness she will now get to enjoy being a well cared for pet who will excel at hide and seek," said Niagara Parks Commission chairwoman Janice Thomson.

And, since Nia was a such a popular ambassador for the parks, the NPC decided a second police service dog was in order.

Cinder, an eight-month-old German shepherd from Kentucky, is currently undergoing training with the Niagara Regional Police canine unit.

"Nia had the additional quality of being a very social dog that complimented the role we all play at the Niagara Parks as ambassadors to the millions of visitors each year," said Niagara Parks chief Carl Scott.

"I have had an opportunity to observe Cinder before he went off to training and I am confident he has the social tendencies we want and the curiosity that will allow him to succeed."

Szczygiel agrees.

"I expect Cinder to be popular as well."

Cinder is expected be on patrol by December.

Like his predecessor, Cinder is being trained for tracking and explosives detection.

"The Niagara Parks has an extensive trails system and the ability to utilize a canine to potentially find missing people more quickly is invaluable," Thomson said.

Nia assisted in a number of open area searches. She was about to undergo search and rescue training to make her comfortable with being lowered into the gorge from a helicopter and riding the Whirlpool Jet Boats when she became ill.

With medication, Szczygiel said, Nia will enjoy a long and happy retirement.

Like Nia, Cinder will also be used for explosive detection sweeps for NPC events such as the annual New Year’s Eve celebration and the Niagara Falls International Marathon.

"The enhanced public safety measures available to us by having an in-house explosive detection canine increases our ability to provide a safe environment that people can come and enjoy," Scott added.

 

 

 


 

The Canadian Police Canine Association, in partnership with the Saanich Police, donate over $24,000 to Children's Health Foundation on National Philanthropy Day

The following release was authoured and prepared by Jessica Woolard, Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island
 





The Canadian Police Canine Association, in partnership with the Saanich Police, donate over

$24,000 to Children’s Health Foundation on National Philanthropy Day

 

For further details click here


November 15, 2013 Victoria, BC


Saanich Police hosted the 2013 Police Canine Championships from September 18 to 22 at the University of Victoria, an event which raised $24,930.66 for Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island’s Jeneece Place. The cheque was presented to foundation CEO Linda Hughes and Jeneece Edroff at Jeneece Place today, November 15, National Philanthropy Day. (photo below)



The Championships, put on yearly by the Canadian Police Canine Association and this year hosted by the Saanich Police, are a friendly competition between police canine teams from across Canada and the USA to determine who is Top Dog. Canine teams compete in obedience, agility, and the crowd favourite — criminal apprehension. Saanich police dog Zeke, with his two-legged partner Cst. Jon Zielinski, was crowned national champion.

Each year, the host K9 unit chooses a charity to benefit from funds raised at the event through sponsorships, merchandise sales, and various raffles.

"The Saanich Police K9 Unit unanimously chose Jeneece Place as the charity to benefit from the championships," said Sgt. Glen Mackenzie of the Saanich Police." The members of our unit all have children of our own, and we had all watched Jeneece as she grew up over the years. We admire her courage and selflessness and know that Jeneece Place is filling an important role for many Island families."

The donation to Jeneece Place is the largest donation that has been made to Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island in support of Jeneece Place since the house opened in January 2012 (excluding estate gifts).

"The officers demonstrate the essence of philanthropy — believing in a program that is helping people in the community, and doing what they can to support it. This incredible donation, one of the largest to come to Jeneece Place since it opened, comes on a most appropriate day — the 2013 National Philanthropy Day," said Linda Hughes, chief executive officer of the foundation.

2013 marks the second time Victoria hosted the Championships; they were last hosted here in 2006.

SMC 0034

About Jeneece Place:

Owned and operated by Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island, Jeneece Place is a residence for families whose children need medical services in Victoria. Located on the grounds of the Victoria General Hospital, the 10,500 square foot house features 10 bedrooms (accommodating 40+ guests), a communal kitchen, dining, living, laundry, games and media rooms, and an outdoor play area. Jeneece Place opened in January 2012 and has hosted over 690 families.

Media Contacts:

Jessica Woollard, Communications Officer, Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island

250-519-6722, 778-679-7228 (cell) or

Jessica.Woollard@viha.ca



Sgt. Steve Eassie #158, Saanich Police Department, Public Information Officer

250-475-4337, 250-883-0857 (cell) or

seassie@saanichpolice.ca
- See more at: http://saanichpolice.ca/index.php/public-information/media-releases/872-the-canadian-police-canine-association-in-partnership-with-the-saanich-police-donate-over-24-000-to-children-s-health-foundation-on-national-philanthropy-day#sthash.YVAuMUv7.dpuf

 


 

The Canadian Police Canine Association would like to thank PETLAND for their generous donation to Police Service Dogs in Canada.

Sgt. Murray Pollock of the Calgary Police Service K9 Unit receives a donation check from Petland

on behalf of the Canadian Police Canine Association.

Click on the following link to learn more about Petland's "Service Dog" recognition

 

www.petland.ca/service-dog-donation.html

 

 

 

 

 


Supreme Court upholds rules for police searches using sniffer dogs
Canadian Press September 27, 2013

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada is standing firm on the rules for using sniffer dogs for police searches.

In a pair of decisions released today, the high court says police were within their rights when they used the dogs to ferret out illegal drugs.

The decision arises from two cases in which there were questions about whether police had met the “reasonable suspicion” threshold to use sniffer dogs.

In one case, the RCMP pulled over Benjamin MacKenzie as he was driving to Regina from Calgary because he was travelling two kilometres over the speed limit.

The Mounties did a police check on MacKenzie, whom they claimed looked nervous and had bloodshot eyes, and found nothing but still deployed a sniffer dog which found marijuana in his trunk.

In the second case, Mandeep Chehil caught the RCMP’s attention because he was travelling alone on a one-way, overnight flight that he paid for with cash. A police sniffer dog at the Halifax airport identified his suitcase, which contained cocaine.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

 


 

Second National Victory for Saanich Police Dog team

Sept 23,2013

Saanich police Const. Jon Zielinski and his four-legged partner, Zeke, are now two-time champions at the Canadian Police Canine Championships.

Zeke, a five-year-old German shepherd, came first in the tracking and obedience scenarios, and second in the evidence search component, to be named the overall champion of the event.

“I’m happy with our successes. Every one of the competitors really did well, and that pushed the couple of us that seemed to get some of the awards. Everyone was so close behind,” Zielinski said of his and Zeke’s standing.

The competition was held at Centennial Stadium at the University of Victoria, meaning Zielinski and Zeke felt the pros and cons of competing on home soil this year.

“It was a greater challenge this year because I had other jobs and duties (on the event organization side) that needed to be satisfied; stuff that we don’t have to deal with when we’re on the road,” he said. “But it was nice to have the support in the stands. I could hear and I could feel the support in our home stand yesterday, which was really special.”

Zielinski and Zeke also came first at the 2012 CPCC in Regina.

And while the Saanich cop says he’s proud and lucky to work with a dog as skilled and competent as Zeke, he says their performance – and the performance of the other 27 dog handlers – at the competition doesn’t mean they’re the best canine team in Canada.

“I’m so happy he can do well in this environment, but at the end of the day what’s important is the work that he does on the street,” he said. “There are awesome dogs all over the country that are doing great work.”

Saanich police Const. Justin Whittaker and seven-year-old Taz came in eighth overall.

kslavin@saanichnews.com 

 




Calgary police launch canine charity calendar 

 


CALGARY – The Calgary Police Service is unveiling its first ever charity calendar, featuring some of their hairiest members.

Almost all of the Canine Unit’s 19 dogs are featured in the 2014 calendar, which shows the four-legged models in and around the city at several local landmarks.

The 13-month family-friendly calendar was spearheaded by Canine Unit Const. Shawn MacGillivary, a 13-year member of the service, with six of those in the Canine Unit.

Story continues below
AdvertisementHis dog, Nox, a general patrol dog who is also trained in drug detection, is the feature image for December 2014.

Money raised goes towards the Calgary Police Foundation, which helps fund community initiatives to reduce youth victimization and criminal activity by focusing on education, prevention and early intervention.

CPS dogs attend more than 8,000 police-related calls every year.

This year alone, police service dogs have responded to roughly 4,200 calls, with the dogs being deployed in more than half of those situations.

Since January, at least 174 arrests can be attributed directly to the unit.

Only 2,500 of the limited-edition $10 calendars were printed.

They are available for purchase online or at several local businesses while supplies last.

 

 


 

Police dog Chrisa shows female prowess among RCMP's 31 four-legged male recruits
The Canadian Press / March 8, 2013

COQUITLAM, B.C. - The RCMP's lone female police dog in the Vancouver area has sniffed out its first suspect, after a case involving an alleged armed robbery.

Chrisa the dog and handler Const. Jamie Dopson were on the scene just after midnight, when a man attempted to rob someone at an ATM machine in Coquitlam, B.C.

Dopson says Chrisa, the only female among the Vancouver-area RCMP's roster of more than 30 police dogs, chased a track on the suspect for about 10 minutes before finding him hiding in a backyard.

He says the two-and-a-half-year-old dog's accuracy and tenacity impressed him.

Chrisa and Dopson are the newest dog-handler team on the RCMP's Lower Mainland police dog service, joining last December after honing their skills together for more than a year.

A 37-year-old suspect is custody, thanks to Chrisa and Dopson's handiwork.

© Copyright 2013

 


 

 

 

A Look Inside Toronto’s Police Dog Academy
44 Beechwood Drive is an elite police academy, but all the recruits are four-legged and furry.

By Edward Brown • Photo by Dean Bradley
March 5, 2013

A warning sign on the gate in the driveway indicating the presence of police dogs doesn’t quite provide a complete picture of what goes on inside the squat, steel-clad Toronto Police Service building at the bottom of Beechwood Drive in the Don Valley.

Even inside, it’s easy to mistake the easygoing staff, inquisitive barking, and constant doggie praise as typical fare for any dog kennel.

Police-issued dog collars, well-used bite suits, and safes containing narcotics, explosives, and other nefarious items tell another story. There’s nothing typical about Toronto’s Police Dog Services compound—not when life-and-death loyalties are at stake.


44 Beechwood Drive serves two purposes: it is both a training facility for elite service dogs and a police station from which TPS dispatches dogs and handlers.

Police Dog Services falls under the same administrative umbrella as the mounted unit. Established in 1989, the dog squad was originally located in a residential neighbourhood overlooking Scarborough Bluffs. As the number of dogs grew, so did noise levels. To avoid finding itself in the doghouse with neighbours, the canine unit moved to its current secluded location, sandwiched between the Don Valley Parkway and the Don River.

The six-acre facility has space for twenty-one dogs and handlers. Canine quarters can get loud, especially when lead trainer Sergeant Paul Caissie, or another handler, appears. Talk about dogged determination: when the dogs realize they’re being pressed into service, a yelping frenzy ensues.

Above a cacophony of barks and yelps, Sergeant Caissie explains, “The dogs are all sociable and have a high retrieve drive. It takes very high-energy dogs to do the work they do here.”

No kidding.

Recognized as a world-class academy, the facility is the only canine law enforcement unit in the country operating around the clock, seven days a week. Not even the RCMP’s canine unit can boast this.

The relationship between handler and dog is intense. On duty as well as off, officers and their four-legged partners are inseparable. By no means considered pets, service dogs nonetheless reside in their handlers’ homes. As veteran police constable and dog handler Todd Garbutt told Torontoist: “There has to be a bond between the handler and the dog, otherwise handler protection wouldn’t work. The dog has to love the handler so much it’s willing to put down its life for that handler.”

Garbutt confesses he averages more time with his dog then he does with his children.

Poop-and-scoop duty is an obvious drawback, but Caissie and Garbutt recite several benefits that come with being paired with a dog. Among other things, they say, the dog doesn’t eat your lunch, and you don’t have to buy it coffee.

Dogs range in price from free to thousands of dollars. Pricier dogs are purchased from breeders. Gratis dogs have been donated from the community. Once in a while, a citizen will contact Dog Services offering to donate a dog they believe possesses the right stuff.

The majority of offers are declined.

“99 per cent of the time,” Garbutt says, “the dog will never pass our testing.”

The other 1 per cent? Garbutt recounts the fortuitous tale of deputy dawg Eli. One day, a dog arrived stowed in the back of a pickup truck. Friendly as heck, with energy and curiosity to match, Eli was deputized after rigorous testing, going on to become an exceptional general-purpose police dog.

Matching dog and handler is a delicate process. A turbocharged dog is best paired with an officer that has a laid-back disposition, and vise versa. Out on patrol, their opposing personality types will counterbalance one another.

Toronto Police Service’s roster of dogs shouldn’t be mistaken for attack dogs. They’re never dispatched as a crowd-control measure. Unlike police agencies in other jurisdictions, TPS usually uses a method of deployment known as bark and hold—as in, hold your ground instead of a perpetrator’s limb.

Service dogs average about ten years on the force. Training for all breeds—from general purpose dogs to detector dogs, who sniff for narcotics, explosives, missing persons, and cadavers—begins in puppyhood. Breeds range from large German Shepherds to mid-sized Springer Spaniels. One feature all share is their alpha-dog personalities.

The Beechwood Drive facility also provides classroom instruction to officers, who learn when to radio for the dog squad and what to do when backup arrives. Sergeant Caissie explains that when the canine unit is called out, the scene they encounter often resembles a dog’s breakfast. Handler and dog must respond quickly and effectively. Regardless of rank, a handler never forfeits command of their dog to a superior. Not even Chief Blair can tell a handler how to deploy their charge.

In the bad old days, an officer risked injury chasing down a suspect. With canines at the ready, a general patrol dog can be called upon to flush a suspect out of hiding. This, officers say, has diminished the number of violent encounters during apprehension.

Canine crime fighters don’t always adapt well to retirement. Ideally, as Garbutt puts it, the dog “goes back to being a dog and loving it.” But because they never really lose their unwavering work ethic, even after being decommissioned, they want to accompany their human partners to work. It’s difficult for the retired dog to accept that a pup has filled its position. This affects the handler’s psyche, too

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