The newest member of the Weyburn Police Service is a 16-month-old Belgian Malinois dog, Oakley.
Chief Jamie Blunden said she arrived in Weyburn on Friday, January 7th, and has been bonding with her handler, Constable Maralee McSherry.
"Part of the working with the place is socialization, being able to go into their cruiser car, going to calls. She's in her kennel without with Constable McSherry. They go to calls like regular, she's on the highway, she does traffic enforcement, the dog's with her the entire day. She comes in for lunch, the dog comes into the station, and socializes with the rest of the police members and the civilian members," he explained.
"At the same time, Constable McSherry is going around to some businesses and just getting them to know who Oakley is, and at some point, we're going to get into the schools at at the same point in socialize her with the kids," he added.
Each police dog serves around eight to 10 years, and Oakley has a special connection for Chief Blunden. She is one of seven pups resulting from artificial insemination through the Winnipeg Police Service's in-house breeding program. Oakley's legendary father 'Judge' spent 10 years working with the Winnipeg Police Service, conducting over 500 arrests during his career.
"He was the canine dog that was assigned to our tactical team and just an incredible drive with a dog, and we've got a lot of good genes inside Oakley right now, and big expectations for for us when she does get trained up in the drug detection."
"She's doing a lot of socialization with her handler, Constable McSherry. She is scheduled, though, to go back to Winnipeg to do some training as a drug dog," he noted.
Blunden said Oakley and Constable McSherry will go in February or March for the eight-week intensive course in all things drug-related.
"She's going to be specifically trained on all the different drugs that are out there, from cocaine to heroin to meth, they're going to go through the gamut with her, and then she'll have to get her validation here in Saskatchewan through the Saskatchewan Police Commission."
"At that point she'll be a working member for the police service," he explained. "Right now, well, she's somewhat of a visitor because she has to pass her validation, but she is being given a badge. She is going to have a number. She's going to be another member of the police service," he shared.
Blunden encourages anyone who is out and about and sees Constable McSherry with Oakley, to stop and have a chat with them.
Victim Services dog with the WPS, Beaumont, is already enjoying his new friend Oakley (photos courtesy of Chief Blunden).