The Ottawa Police Canine (K9) Unit currently has 14 working dogs in service. Each dog is thoroughly tested before being accepted into the program and is expected to perform at a high level each and every day they come to work.
Often police officers, as do members of the public, find themselves in harmful situations. Our service dogs provide an additional level of protection to our officers and the public when called upon to apprehend offenders. Our German Shepherds are trained for the most physically demanding tasks expected of a police dog:
The Ottawa Police also has several detector dogs in service. This specialized group, mostly Labs, are trained to detect items such as: controlled drugs and substances, firearms and ammunition, and explosives. Although it is not as physically demanding as the German Shepherds' tasks, detection is every bit as important for the safety of our community. Our detector dogs train in two courses which run approximately ten weeks, followed by weekly training to maintain their skills and proficiency levels.
We normally look at retiring our detector canines around the age of ten but it is a case-by-case evaluation. We will usually continue to work a Lab as long as they are physically able to do the job and since the tasks are not as physically demanding, Labs usually have a much longer working life than our German Shepherds.
Our canines provide support to all sections within the Ottawa Police Service. When they're not busy with day-to-day operations, the officers and their canine partners are often seen at community events, giving everyone a chance to see the dogs in action.