Police dogs, SWAT team hone their ‘high-risk’ tracking skills

SWAT officers during the exercise last Wednesday, after moving from the bush into an undisclosed industrial building. Photo courtesy Prince Albert Police Service

Prince Albert’s police dogs sunk their teeth into an officer’s protective bite suit last week, as the city’s SWAT team ran through training scenarios with the K9 unit.

SWAT trains at least once a month, sometimes more, to hone their tactical skills. They act out hostage situations, high-risk warrant executions and even “suicidal barricades.”

Sgt. Josh Peterson, a SWAT team leader, said the service’s two police dogs assist them in the real world – and last week’s exercise will help them work seamlessly together.

“K9 is present at every SWAT call,” he said. “K9 assists us with containing the residence, because should anyone try to leave a surrounded residence the dog can track them and apprehend them.”

Training also helps the dogs keep their tracking up to snuff, and develops their “biting strength,” Peterson said.

The exercise took place in two locations. First, the police service dogs Daxa and Feebee carried out a “high-risk track” in the bush. A police officer acted out the role of a bad guy, also known as a “quarry.”

Armed with carbines, SWAT officers provided 360-degree “lethal over-watch” to cover Daxa and Feebee.

For more on this story, see the April 13 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.