Sherman the police dog practises grappling with a “suspect” during a previous drill at the RCMP Police Service Dog training facility near Innisfail. (File Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate Staff)

Police dog teams from across Canada to gather in Red Deer

Police canine seminar runs May 29-31

Police dog teams from across Canada will descend on Red Deer this month.

It’s no emergency situation — it’s the Canadian Police Canine Association’s Spring Seminar.

From Monday to Wednesday, May 29-31, German shepherds, Belgian Malinois and their police dog handlers will be doing advanced training drills in the city.

Seminar organizer Corp. Daniel Block, of Red Deer City RCMP, expects about 30 officers and 20 dogs to arrive from Nova Scotia to British Columbia when Red Deer hosts the national event for the first time.

“We’ll have 19 or 20 dog teams,” he estimates, practising “tactical high-risk tracking” and other exercises.

Block had been to previous seminars and found them valuable. He decided to invite all the experts to this city for information and training sessions.

Since police officers do thing differently in various detachments, better methods are sometimes uncovered. Block believes the seminar will present a great opportunity for knowledge sharing with colleagues from across the Canada.

Central Alberta has four police dog teams that assist at crime scenes from Ponoka to Crossfield and between Alberta’s borders with Saskatchewan and British Columbia. These dogs are trained to help search for missing people, suspects on the lam, stashed or discarded evidence, and drugs and explosives.

“We gain more knowledge all the time of what police dogs can do,” said Block. He’s been partnered with his second dog, Eve, since 2013, when his first dog, Tony, retired after eight years on the job.

Tony now lives with a retired police officer who understands what he’s been through and knows how to responsibly handle him, said Block. Police dogs “work hard so we make sure that they’re well taken care of.”

One session at the conference will teach officers how to care for a police dog that’s injured in the field.

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