Toronto po­lice board con­sid­ers do­na­tion of ca­nine body ar­mour

Times Colonist - - Business - PETER CAMERON

TORONTO — 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 on Thurs­day.

Toronto Po­lice Chief Mark Saun­ders said 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 said 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 to­tal 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,” Saun­ders wrote to the po­lice board. “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 in a park­ing lot while help­ing to catch a flee­ing 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, not­ing it was de­signed be­cause of what hap­pened to Quanto.

“He was stabbed seven times, only one of those wounds was fa­tal,” Horner said, adding that vets have said the dog would have sur­vived if he was wear­ing an ar­moured har­ness.

Horner added that the RCMP, Ed­mon­ton po­lice and po­lice in Durham Re­gion, east of Toronto, are among the forces that use the com­pany’s vests.

LINE OF FIRE DE­FENCE SYS­TEMS VIA CANA­DIAN PRESS

A for­mer bomb dog wears an ar­moured vest.

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