Calgary police hold ceremony for new canine unit recruits
Calgary police welcomed newly certified dogs Kase, Malin, Merc and Banner into the canine unit with a badge ceremony on Tuesday.
"These handlers and these dogs are incredible," said Chief Mark Neufeld.
Const. Michael Wilkins, one of the handlers accepting the badge with his dog Kase, says that while receiving this badge is an amazing feeling, "it's [Kase's] badge to earn."
Neufeld says the canine unit, with approximately two dozen officers and dogs, is an important one, able to track people, link evidence to crimes and locate contraband and explosives.
"They do a tremendous amount of work around the city," he said.
These German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Labrador Retrievers go through a six-month training cycle to learn the basics, then start their fieldwork.
Neufeld says another way they help around the city is through community events and spending a lot of time with students at Youth Link.
Wilkins says he'd always been interested in the canine unit, but experiencing it has exceeded his expectations.
"[The badge is] also kind of a token of a long road ahead," he said.
"It's a 24-7 gig to keep Kase up and running and healthy and happy, so as long as we can do that and he can do his job the best that he can."
The next years for these dogs will be spent with their handlers, the community and chasing crime.