At a special council meeting held today, Cold Lake City Council voted to pursue an enhanced policing program that would bring a Police Dog Service to the city.
The enhanced policing initiative, which is supported by the Federal Government and the RCMP, was planned for the 2018 budget. A chance to acquire a police dog and Police Dog Service member at the Cold Lake RCMP Detachment presented itself earlier than expected, however, and the special meeting was called to vote on pursuing the service for 2017.
“We know that these two new members would very much be welcomed at the detachment and within the community,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “We made the decision to bring a police dog team to the area to help ensure the RCMP in our region has a variety of assets available.”
Although the enhancement was planned for 2018, the City of Cold Lake was made aware that a Police Dog Service team will graduate this from the training centre in Innisfail, Alberta and may be available for posting to the Cold Lake detachment. The post would still require final approval by the Federal Government.
RCMP police dogs are used for a wide variety of policing applications. They can search for missing persons, track suspects, search for narcotics, evidence or explosives, and can also be used for community relations and school programs.
While Police Dog Service assets are based out of a given detachment, they are used by the RCMP when and where needed. Prior to council’s decision, the closest Police Dog Service unit was stationed in St. Paul and would come to Cold Lake when needed and available.
“This is an exciting opportunity not just for policing and public safety in Cold Lake, but for the entire region,” Copeland said. “We’ve listened to our residents and know this is a priority and we did not want to pass up an opportunity to bring this service online as soon as possible.”