Police K-9 Units are invaluable members of a police service. Police Service Dogs are one of the most effective and diverse tools used in policing. These units provide unique assistance to police members by not only saving time in providing more thorough searches for people and evidence but also providing another line of defence in the safety of their handlers, other officers and community during the apprehension of dangerous criminals. Dogs have a keen sense of smell and hearing, making them a valuable partner to a police officer.
Through generous donations from the business community and in partnership with the Town of New Glasgow, the New Glasgow Regional Police Services’ first K-9 Unit was officially formed in August of 2000. Sgt. Stephen Curley and Police Service Dog Bosco served the Town of New Glasgow and neighbouring communities for 5 years. Following Bosco’s retirement in 2005, the unit was led by Sgt. Duane Rutledge and PSD EKKO. EKKO served for 7 years before his retirement.
The New Glasgow Regional Police Services’ newest K-9 addition is Police Service Dog ‘BANDIT’. The New Glasgow Kinsmen Club donated $10000 to assist in Bandits’ purchase and expenses.
Above: Sgt. Rutledge, Bandit and New Glasgow Kinsmen Club President Tony Hessian
Bandit serves with Sgt. Rutledge and can be called to service at any time during the day or night. The two can be on scene within minutes of being dispatched. Bandit, a German Shepherd, was imported from Czechoslovakia in April of 2013 when he was 10 months old. German Shepherds are a breed that have shown the greatest ability to do police work. They have an incredible sense of smell, are tireless workers and are generally quite social. Bandit resides at home with Sgt. Rutledge, who is responsible for his care on a day to day basis in regards to feeding, exercise, medical care, training and socialization. This is beneficial for both Police Service Dogs and their handlers because it helps to strengthen the bond between them.
Bandit and Sgt. Rutledge completed a four month K-9 certification course in Halifax conducted by the Halifax Regional Police K-9 Section, before commencing their duties in August 2013.
Bandit is trained in several different profiles which include:
- Obedience & Handler Protection - The most important service a Police Service Dog can provide. A police K-9 will do everything in its power to protect its handler
- Control (Aggression) - Chasing and detaining a person who runs away when challenged to stop
- Tracking - Searching for suspects and missing persons by following a track left by a person on the ground
- Building Searching - Locating persons hidden inside a building, having been involved in a criminal incident
- Article Searching - Locating objects dropped or concealed during a criminal incident
- Narcotics Detection - Locating illegal narcotics that are hidden on a person, in a vehicle or other places
- Crowd Control - Police Service Dogs are often used to supplement uniform officers who are facing large and sometimes hostile crowds
Police Service Dog Safety Tips
It is important to remember that Police Service Dogs are trained to apprehend potentially violent criminals and protect their handler. Police Service Dogs are not pets they are working animals. You should never approach them without first asking permission from the handler. This is the same rule all officers follow and is not just for the public. Here are a few rules to follow when being in the presence of a Police Service Dog:
- Ask permission before approaching the handler and dog
- Always approach the dog and handler directly from the front
- Listen to the handler’s instructions
- Do not attempt to feed or touch the dog unless told to do so
- Be calm and do not make quick movements toward the dog and handler
Most often, Police Service Dogs are used in the community to search for a suspect that is hiding from police. This often requires officers to search through yards in the neighbourhood. Be sure to remain inside the house with the doors locked until officers advise they have completed the search. Do not open a door to watch or go outside until the search is done. We do not want the Police Service Dog distracted by you when they need to focus on locating a potentially dangerous suspect.