PETERBOROUGH-The Peterborough Police Service K9 unit fared well in three categories at the National Police Dog Championships in the Barrie area.
The 45th annual event brought together the country’s canine teams to showcase their skills, expertise and dedication to public safety at the Sadlon Arena.
“The CPCA is proud to support and bring together police canine teams from across the country to train and compete with one another,’ says OPP Sergeant Brad Gillespie, who is currently serving as the president of the CPCA. ‘More importantly, this event gives us the opportunity to showcase to our communities the canine capabilities that exist in policing.”
Throughout the week, nearly 40 handlers and their dogs from across Canada engaged in competitions and scenarios that mimicked real-life police situations. The initial four days remained closed to the public, fostering opportunities for the participating handlers to share knowledge and enhance their own training programs.
“National Police Dog Competition is great for networking and sharing training ideas,” said OPP canine trainer Clifford Samson. ‘It helps make sure we’re all on the same page.”
This was the first time the competition was held in Ontario, with events spread across Oro-Medonte and Barrie areas, including the Iron Dog event on Friday, September 8 at Hardwood Hills. The Iron Dog featured a rugged 3.5-kilometre forest run with seven unique testing stations for both the handler and dog.
The public day featured a series of events designed to test the abilities of both handlers and their companions. Among the highlights were:
Obedience: Teams showcased their discipline, control and overall responsiveness which emphasized the importance of immediate response to commands, which is crucial in high-pressure law enforcement situations.
Agility: Exemplifying their dexterity and athleticism, handlers and dogs navigated a series of obstacles. A wall where handlers had to climb and hoist their canines over was a particular crowd favourite.
Fastest Dog: In these rapid scenarios, the handler let their dog demonstrate their true speed as they raced to apprehend and control a suspect. A speed reader showed the incredible pace of each canine.
Detection: Teams showed their detection ability by locating hidden narcotics or explosives in the arena and in the crowd.
‘It’s a great way to show the community what we do and how much work goes into keeping the public safe,’ says OPP Chief Superintendent Dana Earley. ‘Canine units provide law enforcement a different perspective; it provides us different options and resources to keep communities safe.’
The events spanning five days were assessed according to specific judges representing various organizations.
“The reality of these trials is that they are set up in a unique way,” explains Sgt. Gillespie. “As the head judge, I don’t know what the criteria will be on any of the events. We do it that way specifically so that host agencies can’t prepare for a competition, can’t prepare their people for it. We bring judges in from across the country, they go to the venues, set it up, determine what the scoring system is going to be based on that and then provide me with the scores.”
Peterborough Police Canine Unit was recognized in three categories.
PC Dillon Wentworth and his pooch came in fourth in the Building Search competition.
PC Robert Cowie and his dog came in fourth in the Building Search competition and Wentworth came in fifth in that same competition.
The fastest dog competition was a tie between the OPP and Barrie with a winning time of 46 km/h.