Interior police dogs will soon be trained to detect fentanyl

An RCMP police dog being trained to detect fentanyl.
Image Credit: rcmp.gc.ca

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - After the RCMP announced its police dogs would be trained in detecting fentanyl, detachments across the Interior are preparing their pups to join the fight against the deadly drug.

Kamloops RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jodi Shelkie says both of their detachment's service dogs will be trained in detecting fentanyl "in the near future" just four days after the RCMP Police Dog Services Training Centre announced all 139 K-9 Units in Canada will receive fentanyl detection training by mid-July.

Some teams have already found success in B.C. The RCMP says one of the three dog teams presently trained has already intercepted 12,000 fentanyl tablets.

The dogs are trained by learning to smell and recognize a diluted liquid-based form of the drug, which is made by RCMP specialists. Shelkie says there's no risk of the dogs ingesting it.

A liquified form of fentanyl is used to train RCMP police dogs to detect it in any form.
A liquified form of fentanyl is used to train RCMP police dogs to detect it in any form.
Image Credit: rcmp.gc.ca

"If they smell fentanyl, they sit and wait for their handler," she says. "The handler would then take the proper precautions when seizing the drug."

A public health emergency was declared last year as the number of reported overdoses continue at a record pace. All RCMP officers carry naloxone, which reverses the effect of opiates, and dog handlers will carry it for both themselves and their dogs.

Police Dog Services are also trained to track fleeing suspects, look for specific items and in high risk weapon situations. They are also used when executing search warrants, explosive detection and missing people.

A 'scent wall' used to train RCMP police dogs to detect fentanyl and other drugs.
A 'scent wall' used to train RCMP police dogs to detect fentanyl and other drugs.
Image Credit: rcmp.gc.ca

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