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‘A really special day’ CPS, Youthlink open the Calgary Police Canine Park

It was a good day for man’s best friend.

On Sept. 15, police dogs had their first public memorial park open up at the headquarters of the Calgary Police building in the city’s northeast.

The park, which was created outside of YouthLink Calgary, located will be a place for the public to explore, learn, and connect.

It honours three Calgary Police Service Dogs (PSDs) who have died in the line of duty, PSDs: Pharaoh, Sirk and Gino.

It also commemorates the service of all CPS Canine Dogs who serve with courage and loyalty.

“Today’s a really special day,” said Sgt. Jim Gourley of the CPS Canine Unit.

“It’s really exciting to be able to give those who paved the way ahead of us a place to celebrate the dogs.”

Police Chief Mark Neufeld salutes and presents a badge to a Police Seargent. (OMAR SHERIF / LIVEWIRE CALGARY)

The CPS Canine Unit was established in 1960 and has since been an integral part of the Calgary Police Service.

It currently consists of more than 20 dogs that specialize in general patrol duties, drug detection, explosives detection and cadaver detection.

Memorial statue unveiled

During the ceremony, a bronze dog statue was unveiled. The statue, which was created in partnership with Studio West Bronze Art Foundry & Gallery, commemorates PSDs and is supposed to depict them in a regal and approachable way.

It’s something the CPS hopes will make officers more approachable.

“The uniforms sometimes might be scary to give to a child, especially from another country, they don’t trust police,” said Carlee Bojarski, executive director with Youthlink.

Police Chief Mark Neufeld smiles as he looks at the newly unveiled bronze dog statue. (OMAR SHERIF / LIVEWIRE CALGARY)

“A dog can instantly take away that barrier.”

She added that the park will be a place of commemoration and festivity for visitors to interact with.

“The canine exhibit is one of the most popular at YouthLink and visits from the unit are always a standout with our school groups. The Calgary Police Canine Park provides an extension of the exhibit that will live outside of YouthLink for hundreds of years to come,” said Bojarski.

It will also be used for future canine graduation ceremonies, retirements and special events.