Tragic Loss of Police Dog

By Ron Fanfair

Ron Fanfair

Writer/Photographer

Service members are mourning the loss of the first canine member killed in the line of duty.

On July 25, police were called to the Dixon & Kipling Rds. area after receiving reports of gunshots.

Bingo was fatally shot while searching for a suspect.

Chief Myron Demkiw said the brave dog’s death was senseless and tragic.

He also expressed condolences to Bingo’s partner, Sergeant Brandon Smith.

“There is a unique bond between a police dog handler and their dog,” said Demkiw. “They work together for many weeks during their training and the dogs become part of officers’ immediate families.”

The Chief said canine members are incredibly important in the Service’s role to deliver community safety.

“They provide an additional resource to our members to help keep communities safe, whether it is tracking a suspect, apprehending violent suspects or tracking and locating evidence, some of which is incredibly dangerous,” he noted. “There are a multitude of reasons we have police dogs and multiple benefits that come from our Police Dog Services Unit.”

Superintendent Colin Greenaway, the Police Dog Services Unit Commander, said the dog’s death is a terrible loss.

“It was unnecessary and absolutely heartbreaking for the handler and the entire Service,” he added.

Under the Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto’s Law), a person "who, wilfully and without lawful excuse, kills, maims, wounds, poisons or injures a law enforcement animal while it is aiding a law enforcement officer in carrying out that officer’s duties" can face up to five years in prison.

The German Shepherd arrived to the unit in July 2022 and was paired immediately with Smith, who worked with the dog. Bingo graduated from 16 weeks of training last December.

“He was a high-drive energy dog who bonded well with his partner in the short time they were together,” said Staff Sergeant Eric Hembruff. “He has had a few successes in his seven months and was very good at his job. He made the ultimate sacrifice, taking a bullet that might have been meant for one of our officers.”

Smith joined the Canine Unit seven months ago.

“These dogs have a special bond with their partners as they are together 24 hours daily. We are looking out for Brandon’s well-being right now," Hembruff said.

In his seven months on the job, Bingo made several significant apprehensions, helping keep the city safe.

Last May, he found a person alleged to have broken into a residence in the Leslie St. and Lawrence Ave. area.

A few days later, the dog tracked down a suspect who fled on foot into the woods and located him hiding in a deep brush after 43 Division officers were involved in a firearm-related investigation. Emergency Task Force members took the suspect into custody and a firearm was recovered.

A book of condolences is available online at www.tps.ca/bingo

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