A bond in the RCMP

Josh Winquist

The bond between dog and handler in the RCMP is a special one. 

To become a police officer in the Police Dog Service requires, on average, five years of volunteer time before selection.

It is one of the hardest sections to get into within the RCMP.

Typically, after training, a dog stays with one handler for its career.  

Cpl. Richard Gingras has been an RCMP dog handler for twenty years. 

His previous dog retired from active duty last summer, and he now works with Dash.

For Cpl. Gingras and Dash the level of trust runs deep. 

"He knows I'll be there, and I know he'll be there," says Cpl. Gingras.

Dash is one of two dogs in the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP service.

Dash and Cpl. Gingras typically get calls to track break and enter suspects or assist in finding missing persons, but Dash is trained for search and rescue and avalanche rescue.  

Cpl. Gingras jokes that he prefers having a dog as a partner. It's the only partner he's had that licks his face every morning. 

"He's always happy to see me."

Outside of the Lower Mainland, there are about 25 police dog services teams covering the rest of BC.

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