RCMP now have a new tool in solving cases and his name is Doc.
The five-year-old purebred German Sheppard now has the distinct honour of being the first and only RCMP cadaver dog in Canada.
“All of our dogs in the RCMP are trained to find human remains, but they’re not specialized in maybe finding bones and different levels of the human body being deceased at different time periods,” said Sgt. Rick Bushey, Division Coordinator for RCMP Police Dog Services.
WATCH:Doc, the newest recruit to the Nova Scotia RCMP, is specially trained to locate human remains at varying stages of decomposition.
Bushey has been interested in starting a cadaver training program for years and often has requests from various units in the RCMP for this kind of service. In December of 2014, the perfect opportunity arose and the RCMP teamed up with the Nova Scotia Medical Examiners Officer to train Doc.
“My hope is that we will be able to serve families better by recovering their loved ones faster,” said Dr. Matthew Bowes, chief medical examiner for Nova Scotia.
“If it’s tough to have lost a family member, it must be 100 times tougher to have lost them and not have the body. So this is the problem we’re trying to solve here.”
Amazing new tool
Dr. Bowes calls Doc an amazing new tool that police can use to solve the most difficult cases.
“When we don’t have a body at all, we can’t really do anything,” said Dr. Bowes.
“The medical examiner’s service is focused on the examination of a body and interpreting those findings. Our interest in this program is really enabling the police to do their job so we can then do our job.”
Before he became the country’s first RCMP cadaver dog, Doc worked at the Halifax airport where he was specially trained to look for explosives.
Doc and his handler, Const. Brian Veniot, trained for months, completing the Human Remains Detection Program last summer.
Doc was trained using human remains that were donated by Nova Scotians.
“We’ll take things and bury them or we’ll go out into the woods, put stuff underneath a log, or throw things in a ditch, anything where we think we would find what we’re looking for,” said Veniot.
Doc is trained to locate things that are buried far underground and even that are decades old. Since completing their training, Doc and his handler have already been on 16 calls.
“We have our dogs 24/7. They live with us. When he’s off duty, he’s a house dog. He doesn’t live in the house but he runs with the horses and plays with the children,” Veniot said of his partner.
“He’s a wonderful disposition dog. It’s by far the best job in the RCMP. I don’t know why anybody would do anything else.”
In May, the pair will travel to the United States to continue training.
“As criminals look at a way of masking things, we have to learn from that. We never stop training. I never stop learning,” Veniot said.
Doc’s training is part of a pilot project. If all goes well, the hope is that someday the cadaver dog program will be implemented across the country by the RCMP.
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