Toronto po­lice con­sider ca­nine ar­mour made in Ed­mon­ton

Edmonton Journal - - CITY+WEATHER -

An anony­mous cor­po­rate donor is of­fer­ing to equip some ca­nine mem­bers of Toronto’s po­lice force with ar­moured vests de­signed to pro­tect them from sharp weapons.

The Toronto Po­lice Ser­vices Board is to con­sider the of­fer of 18 vests at its meet­ing Thurs­day.

Toronto po­lice chief Mark Saun­ders says in a brief to the board that the donor came for­ward af­ter Lonca, a ca­nine with the force, was se­ri­ously in­jured last year by a sus­pect armed with a ma­chete.

The force’s ca­nine unit has been in ex­is­tence since 1989 and has 22 of­fi­cers and 33 dogs.

Saun­ders says the donor has or­dered the vests — de­signed to pro­tect a dog’s ma­jor in­ter­nal or­gans if at­tacked with a sharp or blunt ob­ject — from Line of Fire De­fence Sys­tems in Ed­mon­ton at a cost of more than $22,000.

Saun­ders ar­gues the po­lice dogs are val­ued mem­bers of the ser­vice and ful­fil an in­te­gral role in pro­tect­ing Toronto’s cit­i­zens.

“It is only ap­pro­pri­ate that we pro­vide them with the nec­es­sary equip­ment to pro­tect them from harm,” he wrote. “This do­na­tion in kind would keep them safe as they con­duct their daily du­ties.”

Line of Fire spokesman Dun­can Horner said the com­pany be­gan de­vel­op­ment of the vest af­ter an Ed­mon­ton po­lice dog named Quanto was fa­tally stabbed while help­ing to catch a sus­pect in 2013.

A ma­jor chal­lenge was mak­ing the vest light enough to al­low the dog to re­main agile while still of­fer­ing pro­tec­tion, Horner said.

“We’ve de­signed a har­ness that is very light­weight, it doesn’t re­strict the dog’s agility at all and they can wear it for a full shift,” he said.

Horner said the RCMP, Ed­mon­ton po­lice and po­lice in Durham Re­gion, east of Toronto, use the com­pany’s vests.

The vests can be fit­ted with in­ter­change­able in­serts to pro­tect the dogs against dif­fer­ent weapons, in­clud­ing hand­guns and knives.

DAVE THOMAS/FILE

Quanto, a Ger­man Shep­herd po­lice dog, was stabbed to death in Ed­mon­ton by a flee­ing sus­pect in 2013. His death prompted an Ed­mon­ton com­pany to de­velop a pro­tec­tive vest for po­lice dogs.

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