New K9 team takes to the streets

Cst. Mathew Brown does obedience training with Police Service Dog (PSD) Jeb. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

Jayda Noyes, Daily Herald

There’s a new dog in the city, but he won’t be every man’s best friend.

The Prince Albert Police Service’s (PAPS) new K9 team Cst. Mathew Brown and Police Service Dog (PSD) Jeb had their first shift on Thursday night.

RCMP in Innisfail, Alberta, bred the two and a half-year-old male german shepherd.

Brown was previously in the patrol unit and has been with PAPS for over four years.

He’s been training Jeb since August to do tracking, obedience, drug detection, apprehension and article, ally, building and compound searches.

He said Jeb is the perfect mix between his own personal companion and a determined four-legged policeman.

“He loves to play and loves to work.”

“Once (Jeb) gets to know you, he’s very friendly. He’s a little territorial around the vehicle and stuff and once he knows you’re part of the pack, he’s a lot of fun,” said Brown.

He expressed his feelings before their first shift.

“I’ve had mixed emotions. It’s kind of like coming out of police college—you’re excited, but you’re a little nervous and kind of scared, too…I’m waiting for that first call to come where I can jump on it and get my dog to work.”

He said without the powerful sense of smell, speed and resilience of dogs, police wouldn’t be able to tackle as many crimes.

“If we tell them to do something, they’re going to do it until they’re told not to,” he said. “They’re very, very good tools for the guys in the police service.”

Brown had to pass a number of physical tests to become a handler, including a timed four mile run and a Police Officers’ Physical Ability Test (POPAT), followed by a panel interview.

After having Jeb for four months, he said their bond has grown significantly.

“I take care of him 24/7,” he added, with the service covering all costs such as food and a kennel.

(Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

“I look forward to getting started and getting back out there and taking calls and hopefully catching bad guys,” said Brown.

Cst. Kelsey Bighetty continues to head the other K9 unit.

He recently received both an RCMP Commander’s Commendation and a St. John Ambulance Lifesaving Award.