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Transit police dogs keep system moving


September 2, 2014
By Carolyn Baldridge

by Carolyn Baldridge

Dogs are of great assistance to the Metro Vancouver Transit Police (MVTP) in efficiently preserving and maintaining the safety of those who use public transit.

The Metro Vancouver network includes three advanced light rail rapid transit lines, 68 km of guide way, 49 SkyTrain stations and up to 1,400 buses operating on 200 routes. The network moves more than one million passengers daily.

Public transit networks around the world have become the target of terrorist attacks in recent years. MVTP officers are specially trained to identify suspicious behavior that may be linked to terrorist activity. Explosive detection dogs are one of the tools at their disposal.

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Unattended items are regularly identified in and around transit hubs and SkyTrain stations. Officers use the H.O.T. principal (Hidden? Obvious? Typical?) to help determine whether there may be a risk to public safety. When an item is determined to be suspicious, the Transit Police Dog Service is called in to assist.

Without a dog, a package could result in large scale evacuations and system shut downs, potentially inconveniencing thousands of transit customers. Dogs are able to quickly determine the absence or presence of explosives. Early elimination of suspicious packages keeps transit stations open and minimizes system disruptions.

The unit has two dogs: Bailey, a five year old black Labrador and Lucie, a three year old chocolate Labrador. Both are trained to detect a variety of explosives.

The dog service added a new vehicle to its fleet In August. The Ford Interceptor Utility Vehicle is a welcome addition and will offer the dogs and their handlers a more comfortable and higher profile means of response.

The service is regularly called upon to assist other policing organizations because of its specialization in detecting explosives. Two additional dogs will be added later this fall to answer the high demand for service.

BIO

Contact MVTP Senior Communications Advisor Carolyn Baldridge at Carolyn.Baldridge@transitpolice.bc.ca for more information.