Gateway Gazette

Alberta RCMP Celebrate a One-of-a-kind Partnership With Their Police Service Dogs

Cpl. Andy Brown and Police Service Dog Echo

Edmonton – In recognition of International Dog Day on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, Alberta RCMP’s Police Dog Services Unit provided a demonstration of their abilities in tacking illicit substances, explosive materials and suspects through adverse conditions.

Police Dog Services Unit handlers Sgt. Troy Raddatz, Cpl. Andy Brown and Cpl. Mike Drenka, with Police Service Dogs Hulk, Echo and Roy showed-off their skills and took questions from the assembled media.

Sgt. Troy Raddatz and Police Service Dog Hulk

Quotes

“Hulk is the hardest working and most reliable partner I could ever hope to have, but he’s more than that. He’s also a loving member of our family.”

 Sgt. Troy Raddatz
Police Dog Services Program Manager
“K” Division RCMP

“I’m very lucky to be partnered with Roy. Our personalities are one in the same. While we both enjoy our backyard leisure time with the family, we can quickly and effectively head off at a moments notice to assist frontline members, whether it be locating a missing person, or apprehending a wanted criminal. I can’t think of another dog, or even person I would rather work with, day in and day out.”

– Cpl. Mike Drenka
“K” Division RCMP Dog Handler

“The bond between a dog and their handler is unlike any other relationship. You spend so much time together, constantly at work, training and on your days off, your dog becomes a part of your family.  The biggest part of a team’s ability to succeed in the field relies heavily on this bond.”

– Cpl. Andy Brown
“K” Division RCMP Dog Handler

Quick Facts

  • All RCMP working dogs are purebred German Shepherds that are bred, born and trained in Innisfail, Alta. at the Police Dog Service Training Centre.  On average, the Centre will whelp 100 healthy puppies every year.
  • The responsibilities of police services dogs include locating lost persons; tracking criminals; searching for narcotics, explosives, human remains, crime scene evidence and lost property; VIP protection; crowd control, in conjunction with tactical troop; hostage situations; avalanche search and rescue; and police/community relations. 
  • Currently, there are 19 dogs in “K” Division. 

Backgrounder: Police Dog Services

History

From 1908 to 1935 members occasionally used privately owned dogs to assist them in their investigations.

The RCMP dog section was formed in 1935 with the acquisition of three German shepherds.

In 1937, the Commissioner at the time ordered an RCMP training school for dogs and handlers to be established in Calgary.

The RCMP Police Dog Service Training Centre was established in Innisfail, Alta. in 1965.

Dogs

All RCMP working dogs are purebred German Shepherds that are bred, born and trained in Innisfail at the Police Dog Service Training Centre. On average, the Centre will whelp 100 healthy puppies every year.

At 7 weeks of age, puppies are put through a structured evaluation. Only those that display the unique qualities of an RCMP working dog will go forward into the Imprinting Program.

The RCMP Imprinting Program develops puppies and young dogs in preparing them to be successful for their eventual police service dog training.

Imprinters are RCMP members located across Canada, who have career aspirations of becoming a dog handler. They volunteer hundreds of hours every year ensuring our puppies become socialized and confident.

Continuous testing and monitoring is performed throughout the Imprinting phase. Once the dog is 14-16 months old, it will be evaluated for his/her suitability to come into formal training. Basic training is approximately 17 weeks.

Dogs and handlers are validated to the Doghandler Course Training Standard Field Level capability annually.

In addition to training, the Police Dog Service Training Centre also, breeds and sells dogs.

Dog Handlers

Dog handlers are regular members who volunteer for this particular duty.

Candidates must go through a staffing selection process, which involves meeting certain criteria.

Duties

The responsibilities of police services dogs include locating lost persons; tracking criminals; searching for narcotics, explosives, human remains, crime scene evidence and lost property; VIP protection; crowd control, in conjunction with tactical troop; hostage situations; avalanche search and rescue; and police/community relations.

Currently, there are 19 dogs in K Division.

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