A nine-month-old chocolate lab is the newest addition to the Victoria Police Service.

A nine-month-old chocolate lab is the newest addition to the Victoria Police Service.

Police turn to schools to name new bomb dog

Selecting the new explosives detection dog for the Victoria Police Service was an easy decision for Sgt. Mike Chicorelli.

Selecting the new explosives detection dog for the Victoria Police Service was an easy decision for Sgt. Mike Chicorelli.

Accompanied by two handlers from the canine division, Chicorelli headed to Washington State in search of the perfect pup to join their existing bomb dog, Maverick. Five dogs were looked at, but a lively nine-month-old chocolate lab quickly grabbed their attention.

“This dog is extremely high energy, highly driven, loves his ball, he’s very possessive of it and he loves to search for it,” said Chicorelli. “He’s really comfortable on different surfaces and dark rooms and nothing seems to faze him so that’s a really good trait.”

The pup, who now lives full time with his handler Const. Eric LeQuesne and another police dog named Diesel, will go through eight to 10 weeks of training before he officially joins VicPD. Once trained, his  sole responsibility will be detecting explosive odours and calmly sitting when something is found.

But first he needs a name other than “buddy.”

During the next two weeks, school liaison officers will be attending the classrooms of Grade 4 students in Victoria and Esquimalt to come up with a name for the newest member of VicPD. It’s a move other departments have done with their funny canine members, but it will be a first for Victoria.

In the meantime, Maverick continues to handle the job on his own. Many of the calls explosives detection dogs respond to are false alarms, but Chicorelli said police still have to be cautious. Having two bomb-sniffing noses will provide better coverage in a line of work that seems to be getting busier.

“I think the nature of our job has changed a bit and there will be more and more demand for these types of dogs,” said Chicorelli, the handler of former bomb dog Max, who recently retired after 13 years.

“All they do is search. Because it’s their only job, they get to be very good at it. They don’t have a list of jobs that the other dogs have.”