Metrolinx is welcoming a new breed of officers to its safety team, complete with four legs and wagging tails.
Starting October 24, a K9 unit will be joining its safety team, a move that will allow Metrolinx to have officers on-call 24 hours a day to investigate suspicious objects found at stations, potentially saving GO Transit customers hours in delays, according to the transit authority.
According to Metrolinx, earlier this year, three canines were carefully selected to join the team based on a combination of genetic and behavioural qualities, including having a “keen nose” and being in “good health.”
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Additionally, the dog’s ability to respond to commands, its “hunt drive,” how well it copes in large public spaces, and how it reacts to noisy transit vehicles were important factors.
Dash, our first #K9 has passed his tests with flying colours & earned his badge & special treats. His first official day on duty begins tomorrow at 10am. Welcome to the @GOTransitSSD team! pic.twitter.com/40bndC2g7R
— Anne Marie Aikins (@AMAwithAMA) October 23, 2019
Following a rigorous selection process, Metrolinx says each dog and its handler receive special training from the Toronto Police’s Police Dog Services team.
During training, the dogs learn the distinct odours associated with dangerous materials, a skill referred to as ‘imprinting.’
One of the special pups selected is Dash.
Metrolinx said Toronto Police tested Dash prior to assigning him with Transit Safety Officer Brenton Hoffman in June. Since then, Hoffman and Dash completed a four-month training program.
According to Metrolinx’s Anne Marie Aikins, said Dash started his first official shift bright and early at 7:30 am on Thursday in the York Concourse.
With files from Ainsley Smith