In New Glasgow, there is one member of the police force that is particularly happy to go to work every day and is always more than ready to go. Bandit is a six-year-old German shepherd that works as the police K9 unit for the New Glasgow Regional Police Service.
Const. Donnie Wadden is Bandit’s handler and roommate, as the dog lives with Wadden and his family. Wadden started training in September and spent time training with the Halifax Regional Police with their K9 unit for around four months for both him and Bandit to become more familiar with working with each other. Wadden also had Bandit for about a month before they began training so they could become more familiar with each other.
“We usually started out in areas where there is little distraction,” said Wadden. The training begins in big open areas like fields where there are few scent distractions for Bandit, then move on to areas like industrial parks and residential neighborhoods.
A regular day at the station for Bandit and Wadden includes running through profiles for practice. Some of the different profiles they work on include article searching, obedience, criminal searching, drug searching, control work and tracking. Bandit has gone through intensive training not only with Wadden but his previous handler as well. He is profiled to single out human scents and can track someone down if they flee or are lost.
Bandit was chosen for the work because he is a German shepherd and they are known for their strong work ethic and intelligence. Currently, Bandit is Pictou County’s only police dog.
Bandit was excited to show off his skills on Monday morning as Police Week kicked off.
“It’s good to get out there and let people know who we are,” said Wadden about Police Week. He added that policing is only as good as the communities co-operation sometimes and the department often needs the public’s help in various situations. Being more visible helps make officers more approachable and known in the community.
“A lot of us care about the community and Police Week is one way we can show that,” he said.