After 10 years of chasing down bad guys and finding missing persons with Delta Police, Dezi isn’t quite used to retirement life yet.
“When I leave the house in the morning, she’s still looking up at me eagerly, saying – are we going,” says her handler Constable Jason Martens.
Dezi is a nine-year-old German Shepherd now living as a family dog, joining Marten’s other retired police dog named Tyson. Her last shift with Delta Police was on Dec. 28.
And boy, did she go out in style.
On her last night, Dezi nabbed a suspect in North Delta wanted on three warrants. She and Martens chased him through back yards and over fences before taking him down in a cul-de-sac.
|Dezi, right, joins Tyson in retirement. She’s now fighting over toys rather than chasing bad guys. (Photo submitted)|
“She’s amazingly fast, but it’s time for her to retire while she’s still healthy,” said Martens, who is going back to frontline patrol work after 10 years with the RCMP-led Lower Mainland District Integrated Police Dog Service.
He’ll miss working with Dezi. True, his knees are worn down after a decade of hoisting 75 pound dogs over fences, but Martens said no matter how physically demanding things got, he never wanted to let Dezi down.
“It’s one of the best jobs in policing,” he said. “When you know your dog is on that track – there’s not many feelings like that.”
The duo has had many success stories.
Once they were called to find a suicidal person who ran away after police were called to find a person lying on the train tracks.
“Officers tried to apprehend him so they could safely bring him to hospital but he took off down the tracks,” said Martens. “It was dark, and they couldn’t find him so Dezi and I came to help. We were following the scent down the tracks and suddenly Dezi jutted into the bramble bushes, and gave me happy feet,” he explains.
A train was coming, so Martens said he believes they found the man just in time.
Another time, Martens and Dezi were called to help find a stolen truck and trailer. They found the truck – and the suspect unloading the tools.
“We were able to sneak in on our bellies in the field – I co-ordinated containment but the suspect was just getting into the truck and about to drive away before other officers could get in place,” said Martens. “I put Dezi over the barbed wire fence and she took off down the driveway – launched herself at the suspect before he even got the door shut.”
Police recovered thousands of dollars worth of stolen goods.
And even after all this time, Martens remains impressed by the accuracy of a police dog’s nose.
“Once we were called out to file involving a knife near a SkyTrain station,” he said. “We needed to find the knife but there was so much garbage and foot traffic. I gave her the search command and within 10 minutes she was indicating into a concrete flower pot. I don’t know if we could have found that knife without her.”