Pubdate: Mon, 12 Jan 2015
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Kevin Connor
Page: 20


Oakville trainer's canine detector crew exposes drugs, bombs and other

Whether it's trying t o expose an ex for drug use during a custody
battle, finding residue of a stash in your kid's bedroom or sweeping a
stadium for explosives, there is a canine sniffer company offering to

For years, law enforcement agencies have relied on
professionally-trained dogs to detect all sorts of contraband,
including drugs, explosives and firearms.

Oakville's Dave Walker, of Command Response Dogs, has spent 30 years
in the private detector dog service industry working for clients that
include private schools and large stadium operators.

"With the recent escalation in terrorism events in Canada and
continued rise in illegal drug use and trafficking, detector dog teams
continue to be one of the most effective search tools for law
enforcement and security agencies across North America," said Walker,
a trainer and judge with the United States-based Police Canine
Association - an international certified dog-sniffing testing

"Specialized detector dog g teams are depended upon by y these
agencies in providing g continued safety and secuurity to our schools,
businesses, s, workplaces, special events and d public places in our

Parents, school administrators, CEOs, event planners and employers are
among those who can turn to caninee detector companies to address
concerns about drugs, weapons, explosives, or fear of terrorists.

"These facilities and homes are turning to detector dog teams to
provide added security as well as an effective deterrent to illegal
behaviour," said Walker, a former Ontario correctional services officer.

"In this day and age, routine, random detector dog team searches are
being conducted on regular basis in manufacturing facilities,
transportation companies, service firms with vehicle fleets, airlines,
schools, and homes every day in North America - as well as abroad."

One of the smaller aspects of Walker 's job is being hired by someone
who's going through a divorce and involved in a custody battle.

"One side may suggest the other has a drug problem and shouldn't have
the kids. I could state if I found any residue (from a location of the
ex's) and that could be taken to court," Walker said.

One of his newest and largest clients is Maple Leaf Sports and
Entertainment (MLSE). He routinely takes his dogs to check for bombs
at the Air Canada Centre by sniffing seats and other areas, including
locker rooms, prior to Maple Leafs and Raptors games.

On Saturday, Walker swept the ACC before the Raptors-Celtics game and,
as usual, stayed for the duration of the game.

MLSE admits to using Walker's services, but won't discuss security
issues, spokesman Dave Haggith said.

In the past, MLSE has used the Toronto Police Dog Services for
security, but the force couldn't commit to patrolling every game.

"For us, it is a manpower issue. (Paid-duty officers) can't attend
every game so they have to turn to other companies," said Staff-Sgt.
James Hung, with the Toronto canine unit.

Walker does sweeps for private educational institutes, which he didn't
name because of confidentiality reasons,

"I'm not the police, I'm just an agent working for the principal," he

But there are others, such as the Toronto District School Board, which
do don't use private companies.

"We wouldn't consider hiring a private canine service as we have a
close working relationship with Toronto Police and their canine unit,
which assists with specific concerns," TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird said.

Private dog detector services also are not on the radar for many
throwing exclusive bashes.

Spectacular Spectacular, one of Toronto's high-end event planners -
which put on gatherings attended by former U.S. president George W.
Bush - never had the need to hire a private canine firms.

"(High-profile guests such as Bush) travel with their own security and
search details and many times people don't know they are coming," said
Melissa Haggerty, of Spectacular.

In Ontario, dog sniffing agencies or security firms offering canine
detector services for drugs or explosives don't have to maintain
certification or training standards by law.

"It is an unregulated business, so buyer beware," said Andrew
Morrison, of the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional

Hung added that in Ontario, only the police would have access to the
drugs and explosives needed to train a scent detecting dog.

It is imperative when hiring dog detector services to ensure the
company has recognized training and certification, said Alan Bell, of
Globe Risk International, which has experience dealing with security
issues in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"There is a grey area in the industry because of the legislation. You
need references and certification from a reputable association so you
know you aren't dealing with someone and the family pet," Bell said.
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