This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Lethbridge Regional Police K9 Unit and in conjunction with that milestone, the Service is also hosting the Canadian Police Canine Association spring training seminar May 27-29.
The three-day seminar will include canine teams from various police agencies, corrections and border services from across Canada and focus on canine case law, critical incidents, emerging trends, training techniques, search tactics, detection skills and a lot of friendly competition and camaraderie.
At the conclusion of the seminar the LRPS K9 Unit is hosting a commemorative dinner for past and present K9 handlers to celebrate 50 years of canines in local policing.
The Lethbridge Police Force acquired its first canine in 1964 when Chief Carpenter decided the department would benefit from the addition of a four-legged officer. Police Service Dog (PSD) Thors Yorker, better known as York, was selected from a kennel in Devon, Alberta. Initially training was conducted at the kennel, but in later years following PSD York’s retirement, a formal training program in Belt, Montana was used until an in-house training program was developed in the mid-90s. Over the years more dogs were added and today our current unit consists of four dogs – PSDs Ymos, Ivo, Figo and Arco – and their handlers. In total, LRPS has had 25 K9 handlers in the past 50 years.