The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service (SSMPS) is excited to announce the newest member of its Canine Unit: a Fox Red Labrador named Red. Red was trained in search and rescue so he can help police find missing people.
Red is a 10-month-old rescue from a farm in Southern Ontario – the first rescue dog in the history of the SSMPS Canine Unit. His handler, Constable Dan Turco, had been keeping an eye out for the perfect pooch for some time and had finally found a rescue dog that qualified.
“I wanted to rescue a dog that could help Sault Police rescue others,” said Constable Turco.
Constable Turco recognized Red’s breed as being intelligent, energetic, and loyal. Historically, Red Fox Labradors were bred as hunting companions and working dogs, making Red an excellent fit for the Canine Unit.
Constable Turco brought Red home when he was five months old. Two months later, they embarked on a 12-week training course at the Ontario Provincial Police Academy Canine Training Centre in Orillia, Ontario. Red’s training included qualifying as a “cadaver dog,” which means he can search for human remains.
Partway through his training, Red returned to Sault Ste. Marie to assist in a successful search for a missing child. Red graduated from his course on June 29, 2023, and, like all police canines, takes part in daily training to keep his skills sharp.
Constable Turco describes Red as “a very social, happy, and loveable dog.” In his free time, Red enjoys playing with his ball and sniffing everything in sight.
The SSMPS has two other police canines on staff – Justice and Hektor. Unlike Red, Justice and Hektor specialize in suspect apprehension and sniffing out drugs, guns, and other evidence. They, too, can look for missing people, but they must remain on a leash.
Red, on the other hand, wears a GPS collar and can assist in searches off-leash. When he finds a missing person or human remains, he is trained to stay with them and bark to alert his handler.
“Red is going to be a huge asset to our team. Search and rescue dogs can use scent to locate missing people more quickly than humans could when searching alone. The sooner we’re able to find someone who’s gone missing, the better our odds are of a positive outcome,” states Constable Turco.