The Edmonton police canine unit is celebrating after it successfully tracked down seven suspects in five separate incidents in just six hours.
On the evening of Mar 25., the Canine Team of Const. Lang and his dog Ryker tracked down a suspect in an auto theft and assault that happened near 93rd Avenue and 154th Street.
The same evening, Lang and Ryker chased down a suspect with outstanding warrants who fled from police near 105th Avenue and 76th Street.
Within hours, the pair were again called out to help locate a suspect seen checking cars after a theft near 79th Street and 22nd Avenue. That suspect was eventually found hiding in a yard.
Around 1 a.m. on Mar. 26, a second Canine Team, Const. Mike Garth and his dog Quattro, tracked down a suspect who ran away after being stopped by police near 50th Street and 165th Avenue. Quattro followed the man’s trail for almost 500 metres before finding him hiding in the reeds near a frozen pond.
Police say the pair then tracked three men “through countless yards and over numerous fences” after the suspects were reportedly seen breaking into a car near 43rd Avenue and 68th Street.
One of the three men was found trying to break into a nearby home, while the other two – who were believed be armed – were found hiding several blocks away.
The average chase lasts only six or seven blocks, Garth says.
“Most of the time, it's in that range, but to go six kilometres ... [that’s] quite far – especially all those houses and we tracked for two hours.”
“We were going call to call to call that night,” said Garth of the busy evening, making sure to pass on credit to his colleague Lang and Ryker who have only been on the job for six months.
Even with successful nights like that, Garth said the death of police dog Quanto in October is never forgotten, but instead serves as a remind that any call could be dangerous.
“What happened in my call was an example where the theft from auto call [changed] to somebody now has a firearm,” he said, noting the similarity to Quanto’s final chase.
In total, the EPS canine unit has 12 combinations of dogs and officers, but they’ll soon be growing as a new dog starts training next week.