Terrace RCMP dog Eli is a highly-trained, purebred German Shepherd that works together with corporal Jarrod Trickett throughout northern B.C. on various investigations. (Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

Terrace RCMP dog Eli is a highly-trained, purebred German Shepherd that works together with corporal Jarrod Trickett throughout northern B.C. on various investigations. (Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

Skeena Voices | An officer’s best friend

Police canine Eli helps RCMP track suspects and solve cases

Work hard, play hard is one special dog’s motto in Terrace.

Meeting Eli, you’ll notice he’s not your regular canine companion — he saves lives and catches all the bad guys.

At seven-years-old, Eli is Terrace RCMP corporal Jarrod Trickett’s official partner and whenever the police need help in northern B.C., they’re the team to call. The only one in Terrace, Eli is an RCMP specifically-bred, highly-trained purebred German Shepherd who’s sharp nose and determination can locate narcotics, items and even people during an investigation.

“I’ll go there with the dog to help them look for tracks, suspects from crimes, and weapons if there’s a violent assault somewhere,” says Trickett. “We’re looking for DNA evidence like blood, body fluids, hair, or pieces of clothing… he will either sit or lay down next to it when he finds something.”

Born straight into an RCMP dog breeding program in Alberta, Eli was pre-destined for police work. From an early age, he was taught how to identify scents and tackle someone down during a chase.

“His drive is what we call ‘ball drive’, it’s so intense… with dog handling, you need to have a lot of patience, persistence and perseverance because they are genetically highly-driven dogs,” says Trickett. “You have to be able to train them well to bring out their natural abilities and with the proper training, they will develop into really great dogs.”

He says an RCMP puppy will undergo specialized training for approximately a year under an officer’s watch, who is responsible for an adequate amount of training and “imprinting on them” during duty. Each dog has a unique personality, so their handler must be able to alter their approach to ensure their success on the job.

READ MORE: Skeena Voices | A violist’s vow

Once the dog has gone through rigorous training and has met RCMP standards, they’re then paired with another officer who has also undergone specialized training on how to work with canines.

They’re set up as a potential team and to make sure their bond is unbreakable during high-stress situations, they must complete a series of tasks to officially graduate as a duo.

They then serve and live together, knowing when to relax and when they have to be serious.

“Everything has to be tested because if a dog team isn’t working properly together then these are major issues when it comes to court cases,” Trickett explains. “There has to be no issues with control, their tracking abilities or their criminal apprehension and searching abilities.”

When Trickett was partnered with Eli, he was a bit hesitant but was immediately reminded of his previous police dog, Brooke, when he met him. Brooke was with Trickett through the good and bad, both at work and home. During their day off at the beach, he came out of the water to him and suddenly passed away.

“He died when we were out swimming, he just came to my side at the heel position and collapsed, he fell over… I would have to say it was probably the worst day of my life,” he says.

For Trickett, it was a devastating and heartbreaking experience. He says the connection is indescribable as a team as both are synced and understand each other in a way no one else can compare to. The passing of his dog was like losing any member of the force and family, so he needed some time to mourn and heal.

READ MORE: Skeena Voices | Decoding a warring world

When the news spread of Brooke’s unexpected death, his co-worker came across Eli in puppy training and intuitively knew this dog would be the perfect fit for Trickett when he was ready.

“I was contacted after a short period of time, asking if I’d be interested in taking this young dog. He’s a handful and needs someone with experience and patience to deal with them, so I said sure and they sent him out to me in July 2014,” says Trickett.

“I had that emotional attachment [to Brooke] that hadn’t been put in the proper place yet and then there’s this new guy and I was like, ‘Well, I guess I got to give all my feelings to you now’.”

But Trickett says there was an uncanny similarity between the two dogs and he barely had to change his training technique, which is often rare when acquiring a new canine partner. Very quickly, Eli and Trickett developed a powerful bond which he was surprised with but grateful to be able to share again.

Trickett believed the two of them were just coincidentally paired together but it wasn’t until after their graduation that he found out this had been planned all along.

Like Brooke, Eli is with him every day. He says during his days off, Eli is like any other regular dog and likes to be silly when playing. He goes for walks with his family, hangs out with the cat and likes to chew on his toys.

“I don’t put too much pressure on him, I just let him be a dog if there’s nothing happening… it gives him time to destress because his work can be very stressful,” Trickett says.

“He’s very, very responsive to me as the handler, he can be a bit of a knucklehead and acts like a teenage boy at times. He’s very goofy but he’s a great working dog, we’ve had a lot of good success with him.”

And when they’re called in for a case, Eli’s persona changes. Trickett says Eli can tell when it’s time to put his RCMP-trained skills into use. The radio starts crackling, the police vehicle is set into urgent motion and Eli puts his best paw forward.

“He knows when things are going on, he feeds off my adrenaline, he hears the sirens going and that we’re driving a little bit faster than normal,” says Trickett. “He really gets worked up and knows we’re going to work, that things are different when we put on his harness.”

On scene, Eli arrives focused and goal-oriented. Given any task, he’s determined to please and nothing can stop him from finding what he’s set out to find.

READ MORE: Skeena Voices | King of the hives

From police chases, apprehending suspects to spending several days in the rugged wilderness to uncover evidence, Eli proves beyond himself time and time again. But like with any job, he will eventually have to retire.

Oftentimes once a police dog’s health starts to deteriorate, they’re released from service.

Trickett says he plans on officially adopting Eli after spending so many years with him, and if the timing works out well, he hopes to retire together as he’s nearing the end of his career as well.

“He’s been with me for so long and we have such an incredible bond… dogs like this protect the handler to death and just love you unconditionally,” he says.

“There’s not many friendships you could have over the course of your life like this.”


 


natalia@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jaimie Davis won received a Northwest Community College President’s Art Award in 2018. This year, she won the Best Solopreneur Award from Small Business BC for her online shop Jada Creations. (Contributed photo/Northwest Community College)
Terrace artist wins provincial small business award

Jaimie Davis of Jada Creations won BC Small Business’ Best Solopreneur Award

Chera Bergen (left) with her sisters Hali and Dylan Ouellet (not in the picture) raised money through a bottle drive in Terrace to buy essential supplies for a homeless shelter. (Binny Paul/ Terrace Standard)
Terrace sisters’ recycle drive raises money for homeless shelter

With the $1175 raised, Chera, Hali and Dylan bought essential supplies for Ksan Society

A memorial march takes place along Highway 16 also known as Canada’s ‘Highway of Tears’ on national day of awareness of Murdered & Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). Over five dozen people from nearby communities joined the march which began outside Terrace City Hall and ended at the memorial totem pole erected along Hwy 16, near Kitsumkalum. (Binny Paul/Terrace Standard)
‘City of Terrace can and should make spaces safer’: MMIWG activists

Activists called on governments to amplify safety net for women on national day of awareness of MMIWG

RCMP are reminding the public to be aware of their surroundings after a stabbing sent a man to hospital on May 4, 2021. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace stabbing sends man to hospital

RCMP remind the public to be aware of surroundings

The construction site for the new Mills Memorial Hospital has been cleared. (Binny Paul/The Terrace Standard)
Bird nests key to decision to log hospital site in Terrace

Nests would have posed a risk of increasing costs

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland third behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The postponement of the event was put in place to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Junior A team Coquitlam Express is offering all Tri-City residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a free ticket to one of their games. (Facebook/Coquitlam Express)
B.C. hockey team offering free tickets to hometown fans who get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘We know the only way to get fans back is people getting vaccinated,’ says Express’ general manager Tali Campbell

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s latest COVID-19 restrictions cost thousands of service jobs

Part-time workers set back again by spike in virus spread

Most Read