Cold Lake RCMP have a secret weapon they’ve been using for the last few months.
His name is Harp. He is a three year old German Shepherd.
Harp is the latest addition at the Cold Lake RCMP detachment, and has been called nearly 100 times to a scene in three-and-a-half months.
So far, Harp has captured 14 criminals.
“It’s awesome to work with Harp,” said his handler, Cst Jason Jaques.
“They’re pretty incredible animals and the things they’re able to do, there’s no way us as humans could do. To find people whether it’s in relation to criminal activity, or a missing child, or person, as humans we could never find them, and they have the skills and ability to find them.”
Last year, the City of Cold Lake voted to add a police dog to improve their policing program during a special council meeting.
Police dogs are trained in either narcotics or bomb-detecting. Harp sniffs out illicit substances, and is especially trained in detecting fentanyl.
One of his biggest skills is covering ground – quickly.
“General duty can do so much, but if a guy runs and they don’t see him run, and he goes into the bush and he’s got a five minute headstart, they’re not going to be able to run into the bush. As far as a dog, we could be an hour, two hours behind him, and we can catch them if they’re contained in a large rural area.”
Harp and Cst. Jaques cover Cold Lake and the surrounding rural areas in the Edmonton east region. They might receive a call to duty as far north as Fort McMurray area all the way south to Viking.
Jaques lives with Harp, which creates a close relationship between the crime fighters. No other RCMP are allowed to deal with Harp, and they’ll be together until the policing mutt retires in a few years.
“He stays with me. Stays in my house. We’re together basically 24-7. Sometimes it’s bad as it is, I see him more than my family,” said Jaques.
“I don’t think there’s a better job in the RCMP than what I do. I love it.”
St. Paul has police dog services as well.