The Saanich Police Canine Unit was first formed in 1962. During the 1960's the Saanich Police Department’s Canine Unit consisted of two dog teams, both German shepherd dogs. Cst. George Barr handled Prince and Cst. Jim White handled Rex. Once those two dogs retired (in 1969) they were not immediately replaced and the Canine Unit was disbanded.
Cst. George Barr & PSD "Prince"
Cst. Jim White & PSD "Rex"
The section attempted revival in 1977. At that time, Insp. C.E. Owens in a report to the Saanich Police Board pointed out the need for a unit with internal training and administration and suggested that Sgt. White be placed in charge. His recommendation was also that a centralized kennel facility be constructed to meet the needs of this new Unit. The unit was not resurrected at this time.
On July 1, 1985 the Canine Unit was finally re-implemented under then Chief Post. Two Constables were assigned as handlers of a breed of dog known as Bouviers. These dogs were purchased and trained by a civilian trainer from Washington State. A dog named Gator was a partner for Cst Paul Morrison and Gaston was teamed with Cst Ross Poulton.
Cst. Paul Morrison & Gator
Cst. Ross Poulton & Gaston
In 1991 with the rotation into the section of new handlers, the Saanich Police Department Canine Unit headed in a new direction with a new training program and a return to the German Shepherd Dog. The Unit was also increased to three teams. The Unit consisted of three constables as handlers and an Administrative S/Sgt. in charge. The Saanich Police Canine Section acquired the services of Sgt. Deacon of the New Westminster Police Service who became the Unit Trainer. Sgt. Deacon was a brilliant trainer and gave Saanich handlers tremendous education in the area of Canine Training. Remaining under the guidance of Sgt Deacon, Sgt MacKenzie took over as the trainer for Saanich in 1995. Sgt Deacon imparted enough of his knowledge that since 1995 the Saanich Police Canine Unit has trained all its own teams. Sgt MacKenzie remains the Unit trainer today. Sgt Deacons’ direction and knowledge enabled the Saanich Police Canine Unit to become one of the most successful Units in the country. The team’s success during the 1990's and 2000’s was considerable and noteworthy. The Unit is now responsible for hundreds of arrests and thousands of dollars worth of recovered stolen property. Since 1991 the Saanich Police Canine teams have competed annually in the Canadian Police Canine Championships and won the overall title nine times and the BC Provincial title five times. In fact, the National title has been held by five different Saanich dogs and their handlers’. Three of the teams, Sgt MacKenzie and Ace and Cst Todd Lamb and Rogue won the Canadian Championship Overall title multiple times and most recently, Cst Jon Zielinski and Zeke won the title in 2012 and 2013.
|Sgt. Doug Deacon|
In 2013 and 2014 the Canine Unit again had a change in personnel. An aging fleet of dogs were retired and replaced by two new teams. Cst Thompson and Asher hit the streets of Saanich in December of 2013. In April of 2014, Cst Morin and Grimm started out on their canine career. These teams begin a new era and are another step in the evolution of the Saanich Police Canine Unit. A Unit with a proud history and a bright future. Bad guys beware.......
|Cst. MacKenzie & Ace|