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Lethbridge police to welcome 2 new members to K9 team

WATCH ABOVE: Lethbridge police are set to welcome two new members to the team. They’re trained to track, search, apprehend and detect drugs, all while on four legs. As Joe Scarpelli reports, the K9 officers can also be their handlers’ best friends.

The two newest police service dogs – PSD Myke and PSD Robby – will soon be graduating after completing the 16-week K9 training program in Lethbridge.

The dogs were trained in tracking, obedience, agility, building searches, compound/area searches, evidence searches, criminal apprehension and drug detection.

“They will receive a badge, they do have an I.D. number, so they’re a member of the police service,” K9 handler, Cst. Braylong Hyggen said.

“They provide an element to police work that you can’t get anywhere else,” trainer Cst. Rick Semenuik added.

Police say some crimes would go unsolved if it wasn’t for the K9 unit.

“Without the dogs to be able to track the person, you’d never be able to solve it and find that subject and arrest them for that crime,” Semenuik said.

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In some cases, the K9 dogs have the first interaction with criminals, taking on a dangerous role for their human partners.

“He makes the ultimate sacrifice that saves another officer’s life,” Semenuik said. “That’s one of the huge advantages of having a dog, keeping our human members safe.”

The K9 and its handler are more than just coworkers. They go home together and only interact with one another.

“Our families don’t have interaction with them, our kids, our wives,” Semenuik said. “It’s just you and the dog.”

That partnership results in a relationship like no other.

“I spend more time with the dog than with my family,” Hyggen said.

“It’s kind of hard to explain, it’s like nothing else,” Semenuik added.