K9 unit

Officer Véronique
Boulanger and Aimee

The Service de police de la Ville de Gatineau K9 unit consists of two regular teams that patrol the entire territory: officer Véronique Boulanger is the handler of Aimee, a four year-old female German Shepherd, and officer Patrick Gauthier is the handler of Walter, a two year-old male.

The mandate of the K9 unit teams is to…

  • protect patrol officers and support police officers in their work
  • search for missing people and fleeing or ambushed suspects
  • detect drugs and firearms
  • protect and apprehend suspects
  • search for objects and clues at a crime scene or in the case of a missing person
  • train daily and regularly in order to maintain the K9 team's performance
  • take part in public relations, prevention and awareness-raising activities

A few facts…

Officer Patrick Gauthier
and Walter
  • The training, which is provided by a Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) expert, takes 18 weeks.
  • To become a handler, a police officer has to have served with the SPVG for at least four years, have successfully passed a series of interviews and challenging tests, and be in good physical condition. The handler must also go through exacting training and qualification testing, and live in a place that is suitable for the dog.
  • Handlers have to train their dogs on a daily basis, and care for them full-time. The dogs live with their handlers at all times. They have a special enclosure on the handler's property.
  • The dogs work with the police force for approximately seven years, after which they get a well-deserved retirement!

About the dogs…

  • The dogs are selected based on a series of tests that are designed to determine their temperament, courage, behaviour, tolerance to firearms, tracking and retrieval instinct, and their overall health.
  • Certain senses are far better developed in dogs than in humans, which makes them very good at certain tasks:
    • A dog's sense of smell is one million times sharper than that of a human being. For instance, a German Shepherd can detect a drop of sulfuric acid among 10 million drops of water.
    • A dog's hearing is four times keener than a human's.
    • These four-legged partners have a field of vision that is 70% greater than their handler's, their vision is ten times more sensitive to movement than that of a human eye, and they have outstanding night vision.
  • To detect drugs, dogs play a game of odour association. If they find the odour, they get a reward, for instance their ball.


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