COMMUNITY SAFETY Series
by Constable Steve Holmes
Late at night, a police officer is dispatched to a residential break-and-enter in progress. Upon arrival, the officer finds that the culprits are gone and the shaken homeowner states that the three males in dark clothing took off across his backyard. The quick-thinking officer calls on his radio:
“Dispatch, this is Alpha one. Do we have a dog available?”
“10-4 Alpha one. Echo 5 and Grief are on their way to your location.”
Within minutes, Echo 5, which is the Police Services Dog vehicle, arrives with the two very eager officers, the dog handler, and his dog Grief. The investigating officer updates the dog handler as to where the suspects were last seen and their last known direction of travel. The officer has also advised other police units in the area who, by now, have set up in a box pattern in the vicinity of the home to ensure the suspects don’t get far.
Grief is on the Scene
The dog handler puts a long leash on Grief and the two go to the backyard to locate a scent. Almost immediately, Grief latches on to a scent and trots across the backyard to a low chain link fence with his handler in tow. Grief jumps the fence and continues on, down a back alley, across another yard and onto a street. Grief is moving faster now as his super sensitive nose easily detects the strong human scent. Grief crosses an empty lot and goes down another back alley and stops at a gate, which leads to another backyard.
Inside the yard there is a set of swings and an above-ground pool half filled with water. Grief runs up to the pool and starts barking loudly while running around the pool. His behavior tells his handler where the suspects are.
The handler calls for backup and walks up to the pool, shining his light down on three very wet suspects who figured they could fool the dog by hiding in water. Wrong. Shivering in the night air, the three culprits look nervously at Grief, who is still barking and circling the pool, daring them to try to escape. When other officers arrive, the suspects are handcuffed before the dog handler calls Grief off, praising him for a job well done. Those three have had enough ‘Grief’ for one night!
These four-legged sleuths have been valuable partners with the R.C.M.P. for many years and are as important as any two-legged police officer. Many of them have performed incredibly courageous acts, tracking and bringing down dangerous criminals. Some have even given their lives to protect their human handlers. These dogs can find objects hidden or thrown away by suspects, find drugs, and other evidence. One even found an abducted baby that had been purposely left in the woods at night with coyotes lurking nearby.
All dogs have super sensitive noses. Some have 20,000 times the sniffing ability of humans, and that helps them smell what humans cannot see. The R.C.M.P. use purebred German Shepherds because they are great sniffers, are very intelligent, and they have ATTITUDE. With all this and their size, you don’t want to mess with them. These guys are strong enough to take down anyone, no matter how big, and they have the teeth to take a big ‘bite’ out of crime if need be.