New canine crime fighter makes his mark in Nunavut

Dog handler Cpl. Stephen Pike says Talon is an invaluable tool for Nunavut RCMP.

Talon is first full time police dog in Nunavut in a couple of years

Cpl. Stephen Pike and police dog Talon have been in Nunavut since the beginning of August. (Vincent Desrosiers)

The RCMP in Nunavut say their latest crime fighter is confident, motivated and always ready to work.

He's Talon, a five year old German Shepherd who moved to Nunavut with his handler Cpl. Stephen Pike at the beginning of August. The canine unit can be used in searches for people, weapons and drugs.

Talon's already been in the news. 

He helped recapture an escaped prisoner from the Baffin Correctional Centre on Aug. 14. The man slipped out of his restraints while being transferred to the court house. Within fifteen minutes, Talon had followed the man's scent to the outskirts of town. 

Pike says it's been a couple of years since the Nunavut RCMP has had a full time canine unit.

"I'm kind of biased, but a police dog I think is invaluable, the skills that they can offer, the services," says Pike.

The canine unit often works as support to other officers. Pike and Talon stay in the background unless they're needed. An example is when officers go to search a house for drugs and are concerned a suspect may try to flee.

"So if you think or feel we could be of assistance, we'll tag along, help out where we can, and be available when and if the situation arises," Pike says.

Police dog Talon helped recapture an escaped prisoner on Aug. 14. (Vincent Desrosiers)

He says Talon is a great asset in searching for a missing child or lost hikers.

The dog can also be used to look for evidence such as a weapon discarded by a suspect.

"For the general duty police work, which my dog is, a general duty dog, they will usually go with German Shepherds who show the traits that are bold, eager confident, motivated, agile, everything that's right there usually within a German Shepherd, that's why they've gone with that," Pike says.

He says the police dogs are bred by the RCMP and tested early on to see if they have the necessary traits. Talon was Pike's first dog to pass the aptitude tests after five previous tries. 

The corporal says the dogs are trained to be task oriented and have no interest in socializing.

"He's interested in the task at hand, so he's goal oriented or he's motivated on what is it you want me to do, so it's not like your typical pet is going to come in and want to go around meet everybody and he's more or less, come in, what's my job, lets get to work and okay, it's over," says Pike.