As you likely know, the Vancouver Police Foundation does a lot more for the VPD Canine Unit than just sell the cute canine stuffies and adoption kits in our online store. We also proudly support the VPD Canine Unit with funding and partnerships to help them access better facilities and training, state of the art protective equipment for the handlers and the Police Service Dogs (PSDs), and other tools to keep them safe and healthy.
The VPD Canine Unit is the oldest municipal police canine unit in Canada. Established in 1957, the dedicated officers and their four-legged partners of the K9 Unit have been at the vanguard of keeping our city safe: helping to apprehend criminals and ferreting out explosives (including bombs), and firearms. Every year the VPD Canine Unit responds to over 7,000 calls for service!
Most recently, the VPF funded brand new vest lights for all VPD Canine Unit handlers – a piece of equipment they had not had access to previously. These new chest-mounted lights permit the handler to leave one hand on the PSD’s leash and the other hand free for anything that might crop up. It is unwieldy for handlers to have to carry flashlights, the PSD’s lead and any other tools they might require.
“The chest mounted lights have been an absolute game changer for myself and the other handlers in the section,” explains Canine Unit Constable Chris Hudson. “My dog, PSD Vook, is very high drive and powerful, especially on a track while he’s in his element and in scent. On uneven surfaces it can be very treacherous holding the leash behind him as he pulls. Throw in darkness and it used to be next to impossible to hold his leash in one hand and a flashlight in the other hand.”
Cst. Hudson and PSD Vook have been a VPD Canine team since they completed the Handlers Course together in 2019. During one of their very first shifts together, they were dispatched to a male with a gun inside of a vehicle near Cambie and East 59th Avenue. Police moved in to arrest the male in the vehicle; however, he was able to ram multiple police vehicles, including Cst. Hudson’s canine truck, and he escaped. The suspect didn’t make it very far though, as he crashed his vehicle into a tree and then fled on foot. PSD Vook started tracking and soon located and apprehended the suspect hiding nearby. Scenarios like this are frequent and having the new lights provides an important element of safety.
“With the new lights I’m able to easily turn it on and then focus on holding onto PSD Vook’s leash. I have the ability to have a free hand when needed, to use other tools that may be required.”
The lights have multiple settings, including infrared light, which can be seen by those using night vision devices. Another feature is a green-tinted light that highlights blood. In incidents of serious injury to a dog where the skin is cut or punctured, it can be difficult to isolate the wound site due to the thick fur coat. The green-tinted light helps expedite sourcing an injury and allows handlers to render quicker medical aid.
If you would like to help us support the valuable work of the VPD’s Canine Unit, we have a number of ways to do so:
Purchase your 2023 VPD Canine Calendar. All proceeds from the calendar directly supports BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and the BC Cancer Foundation.
Adopt a VPD K9 Hero. Adoption packages are available as kits, including a special 8″ K9 plush for $48 (with a tax receipt of $28), or a virtual adoption that comes with an e-card for $25.
Become a monthly donor to the VPD Canine Unit. Even $10/month makes a difference.
Join The Pack and you’ll receive special K9 emails, behind the scenes images from the VPD K9 Calendar, and a pre-sale opportunities for the 2024 VPD K9 Calendar.
The Vancouver Police Foundation supports programs and initiatives that fall under one of four pillars: Youth Programs, Mental Health & Addictions, Community Outreach & Engagement, and Technology & Special Equipment. You can help build a safer Vancouver by donating to the Vancouver Police Foundation.