Sunday, 8 May 2011

FIELD TRIP ~ RCMP Police Dog Demonstration Held

The Lloydminster Homeschool Association sponsored an interesting field trip on Friday evening, May 6th ~ an RCMP police dog demonstration!  The group met in Lloydminster, behind City Hall, near the gazebo.  Several RCMP officers were waiting for us there.  The evening began with Homeschool President, Tim Krenz, warning everyone not to try to touch the police dog.  He also advised us the Constables at the event were on active duty and if there was an emergency, they could be called away at a moment's notice!  Luckily that didn't happen!

The first Member of the Force to speak was Cst. Stack.  He talked about general police duties and how everyone goes to Regina for six months to "Depot," for their initial training.  Last summer, Alisdair and Isobel toured the RCMP facilities in Regina with their Scottish grandparents, so that dovetailed nicely, to give them a broader understanding of what was being talked about.

Cst. Stack told us about the Lloydminster Detachment boundaries and that there are four platoons of officers who work each week.  He also noted that for every call there is alot of paperwork to complete to keep an accurate record of what took place.  Even a false 911 call requires a paper trail!

Next up was Cst. Trevor Lyster.  I recognized his name as he worked from the Cut Knife RCMP Detachment for several years.  Cst. Lyster is now working at IDENT in Lloydminster.  He gave a demonstration of the fingerprinting process.

First, he had Cst. Stack touch his sweaty brow.  Then Stack touched an empty beer bottle that had been brought along for that purpose.  Cst. Lyster said there are often beer bottles at a crime scene and they are routinely used to gather fingerprint evidence. We could see smudges on the bottle before Cst. Lyster went to work.  He brought out his "kit" and opened a container with some gray powder and a small brush inside.  When the powder was applied to the beer bottle, the fingerprints were clearly visible.  The next step was to preserve the prints on a sticky piece of plastic.  Once the backing was stuck to the prints, they were preserved between the plastic sections and could be analyzed as evidence.

The next item on the program was what everyone had been waiting for ~ the police dog demonstration!  Cst. Troy Raddatz brought his partner, "Argo," out of the mobile kennel in the back of his truck, and began explaining some of the things they can do as a team.

Cst. Raddatz and "Argo"

"Argo" is a German Shepherd who was born in Czechoslovakia and purchased for approximately $10,000.00.  Apparently there was a guarantee that he would be an excellent police dog.  If "Agro" had not been able to meet the rigorous RCMP standards, another dog would have been made available to the force.  Dogs are also bred in Canada, especially for the purpose of training them for work with police services across the country.  While Cst. Raddatz was talking, "Argo" enjoyed chewing his red ball!

Cst. Stack and another Member of the RCMP
 look on, while Cst. Raddatz explains some
 of the things "Argo" can do.

Initially, "Argo" and Cst. Raddatz were trained to sniff out bomb threats.  The pair went to the Olympics in Vancouver where they were part of the large security beat to keep athletes and visitors safe.  Afterwards, they were retrained to sniff out narcotics.  "Argo" can also track criminals or search for missing persons.  The RCMP hope to get approximately five years of service from each canine ~ however some work eight or nine years, while others need to be retired earlier in their career.

The "guard arm" is in place ...
Since everyone wanted to see what "Argo" could actually do, another Member of the RCMP was selected to assist with the demonstration.  He put on a "guard arm" to provide protection from "Argo's" sharp teeth.  Initially, Cst. Raddatz told "Argo" to attack the other officer.  The dog did as he was told and rushed forward.  Suddenly, Raddatz gave another command and the dog obediently quit running toward the intended target and returned to his handler's side.  Cst. Raddatz explained that it was sometimes necessary to get "Argo" to stop approaching someone midstream, as an innocent bystander could walk between himself and a criminal, or an incorrect identification of a particular target could have been made.

"Argo" goes into attack mode, lunging at the "guard arm."
The second time, "Argo" grabbed on to the "guard arm" with all of his might.  Cst. Raddatz came up from behind and demonstrated how the dog would not open his jaws until he was commanded to do so.  To illustrate this point, Raddatz actually picked up the canine's hind legs and tried to pull him away from the "guard arm" but the dog didn't even loosen his grip!

"Argo" waits for a command from his handler.
At the conclusion of the dog demonstration, three police cruisers were made available for the group to view.  The children had a lot of fun, climbing into the backseat where people are usually detained behind plexi-glass.  They were also able to turn on the lights and the siren (to either 'yelp' or 'wail' mode).  One officer even obligingly handcuffed the homeschoolers upon request!

Homeschool President, Tim Krenz
 is shown some of the features of a 
police cruiser on display.
Isobel wanted to go for a ride in the police car!
The next field trip, sponsored by the Lloydminster Homeschool Association, will be held Thursday, May 12th, when members of the group, who wish to do so, can tour the local radio and television station.  Although Isobel is scheduled to attend Kindergarten that day, we hope to be able to participate in the event.  Later in the school year, a field trip to explore the Lloydminster Airport is planned.  There will also be a "farm safety" seminar, and a wind-up BBQ.

1 comment:

  1. Did you know that there are only 20 police dogs in Canada?