They found fleeing drunk drivers, missing high-risk youth and stopped determined armed suspects — responding to a total of 1,520 calls for service in 2021.
Delta’s three police dog-and-handler pairs, who are part of the Lower Mainland Integrated Police Dog Service (LMIPDS), recently looked back at the past year.
As part of an integrated unit, their scope of operations goes beyond Delta, serving nearly two million Metro Vancouver citizens alongside 45 other dogs and handlers.
Throughout 2021, the LMIPDS team responded to 192 calls for service in Delta. Break-and-enters were the most common call type, while assaults and searching for weapons were also frequent reasons why the dog teams were called in by front-line officers.
Some of the most satisfying work for dogs and handlers is when they can successfully locate missing suspects and missing persons, and Delta’s three LMIPDS teams were successful in doing so more than 150 times in 2021.
Last year also marked the debut of a new team: DPD Const. Sarb Singh and his new dog Laska.
“There are many occasions where these dogs have made a critical difference in our work. For example, last year Const. Singh and Laska attended a collision in Delta where the driver was fleeing the scene on foot,” explained Supt. Guy Leeson, who oversees the DPD officers seconded to integrated teams.
“They caught up to the suspect and, after noting symptoms of impairment, the suspect was taken into custody without issue.”
In another incident, Singh and Laska came to the aid of a fellow DPD officer who was involved in a struggle against a suspect actively fighting and fleeing from police. The suspect had assaulted the officer and presented a knife, but the use of force tools including a taser and pepper spray had not yet resolved the situation.
Laska successfully controlled the suspect despite being hit at with keys, and the suspect was taken into police custody, all thanks to Laska’s tenacity.
“Our handlers and their dogs are incredibly dedicated, and they are such a fantastic resource for our community,” Leeson said. “For example, Const. Chris Cottrill and his dog Garner had a great success here in Delta last year where they were able to successfully track a youth who was suicidal.”
In another file, Const. Carriere and his police dog Libby assisted on a robbery with weapon file where the suspect was using a taser. While Carriere located and apprehended the suspect, Libby located the stolen property and the taser that was used in the commission of the offence.
The Delta Police Department also has other dog-and-handler pairs, in addition to these traditional “multi-profile” dogs. The DPD also has two dogs trained to detect firearms and drugs, as well as a Victim Services dog.
In 2021, the department also had three officers participating in a development program by volunteering as quarries to help raise puppies who will on day be police dogs.