Police Dog ServicesE-mail Police Dog Services
Officer in Charge: Staff Sergeant Eric Hembruff
The Toronto Police Dog Services was formed in 1989. At present, the unit consists of 21 handlers and dogs. Most Teams are comprised of one handler and one General Purpose Police Dog. There are currently three exceptions to this where one handler has both a General Purpose Police Dog and a Narcotic/Gun Detection Dog. There is also a handler who has an Explosives Detector Dog. Every handler is responsible for the care and maintenance of his canine partner(s). The dog not only works with the officer but becomes part of the officer's family.
Each dog has been chosen for its good health, temperament and training ability. Once selected, the dog is assigned to a handler who must also meet certain requirements. The officer must be a First Class Constable, have a good work ethic, and pass a rigorous physical test.Both the General Purpose handler and the dog form a team and embark on a fifteen week training course. During this period, the dogs and handlers are taught Obedience, Agility, Tracking, Property/Evidence Searches, Area Searches, Building Searches, Handler Protection, and Criminal Apprehension.
The Service presently uses German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois for General Purpose Police Dogs and currently use a Labrador, Springer Spaniel, and Malinois breeds for the detection of narcotics, firearms, ammunition, and explosives. All are purchased after testing and are usually between the ages of one to two years.
When the Police Dog Team graduates, they are assigned to general patrol work and respond to a variety of calls, such as lost or wanted persons, searches for stolen property or evidence, break and enters into stores or factories, or any other situation where a suspect has fled or may flee from the police or a crime scene.
Since its short history Police Dog Services has been responsible for hundreds of arrests and the laying of hundreds of criminal charges. They have also located thousands of dollars of property and pieces of crucial evidence including numerous firearms and other dangerous weapons.