New RCMP dog team ready to help P.E.I. combat crime
Second police dog team for Island will help alleviate heavy workload
A second RCMP dog team for P.E.I. will help alleviate a heavy workload for the existing sole team, something police say has been a "huge task to manage."
RCMP dog handler Cst. Kristian Thomsen and his canine partner Fleck have just been posted to western P.E.I., joining Cpl. Marc Périard and his partner Dutch, who have been the only police dog team on the Island for both the RCMP and all Island police agencies whenever required.
We're good buddies. We've gone through a lot together already.— Cst. Kristian Thomsen
"He's an energetic dog and he likes to go searching that's for sure," said Thomsen.
Fleck is not only an excellent tracker, Thomsen said, he's also good at finding articles at a crime scene or things taken from a crime scene, and is trained in explosive detection — a speciality for the team.
Having an RCMP dog team on the Island means more support for the general-duty members, Thomsen noted. While they will be based in western P.E.I., they will be helping the entire province.
Fleck is a three-year-old purebred German shepherd that came to Thomsen from the RCMP breeding program.
"He came to me out of the Northwest Territories, a good friend of mine raised him," Thomsen told CBC News: Compass anchor Bruce Rainnie.
Imprinters, as they are called, raise the puppies from eight weeks old, exposing them to a variety of people and situations to ensure they have the aptitude to be a working police dog.
After being selected to be a dog handler, Thomsen got Fleck when the dog was between 12 to 18 months old.
"They just basically showed up and said, 'He's your new partner,' and we bonded for a few weeks."
After that, the duo completed a successful six-month training program at the Police Dog Service Training Centre in Innisfail, Alberta, and were posted to P.E.I.
'He's my buddy'
And the two are more than a working team, the officer said.
"He's my buddy. And that's just it... we understand each other. I know when he's having a good day and he knows when I'm having a good day," Thomsen said.
"He knows when it's home time, he knows what the truck means when it's work time."
"We're good buddies. We've gone through a lot together already."
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With files from CBC News: Compass