Metrolinx says Dash, the transit agency’s very own K-9 dog, has “passed his tests with flying colours and earned his badge” to begin his duties at Toronto’s Union Station on Thursday morning.
Anne Marie Aikins, a spokesperson with Metrolinx, tweeted out that Dash’s official shift started “bright and early” at 7:30 a.m. at York Concourse.
Aikins said Dash, one of three dogs, will be called in to assist in examining suspicious packages, primarily at Union Station. Commuters can expect to see the light-coloured canine constables patrolling Union Station with special vests.
Global News spoke to Metrolinx in the summer about its new breed of transit officers and the agency’s efforts to boost security and reduce delays.
Toronto police have had detection dogs at Union Station since 2013, according to Metrolinx, but the agency said having its own canine team available 24 hours a day means much faster response times. Officials said it will potentially save commuters hours in delays.
The agency said the dogs and their handlers underwent 12 weeks of intensive training with Toronto police that included learning the distinct odours of dangerous materials and sniffing out those items.
Metrolinx said that although the canine unit is based out of Union Station, it can be dispatched anywhere within the GO Transit system.
The transit agency added that commuters are asked to resist the urge to pet the dogs as they are on the job to help keep customers safe.
The dogs will have collars with the words “Do Not Pet” in yellow, capital letters to remind commuters not to distract the dogs.
— With files from Albert Delitala