During the daylight hours of the afternoon of Wednesday, January 11, 2023, multiple units of the Yukon RCMP conducted a routine training exercise in downtown Whitehorse, in the area of Black and Jarvis Streets as well as the nearby trail system. Police officers from both the Yukon RCMP's Emergency Response Team (ERT) and Police Dog Service (PDS) participated in tracking a "fugitive," who was actually a police officer in plain clothes, through an urban environment. ERT and PDS members involved in the tracking were wearing their standard uniforms.
No long guns were used during the exercise, and service weapons remained holstered. The experienced police dog who has been in service in the Yukon since 2019 remained leashed and under the control of the handler at all times.
Yukon RCMP conduct a variety of training exercises year-round in a number of real-life local environments to ensure that officers and canine partners are prepared for the many different types of calls we receive from the public. The Yukon ERT team trains on a monthly basis while the PDS trains continuously, based on the need to keep communications between the dog and its handler sharp.
"This particular training exercise involved tracking a supposed high-risk fugitive in an urban environment," stated Staff Sergeant Kent Langley of the Yukon RCMP. "However, the same basic techniques are used in locating lost persons or missing children. These exercises must be practiced regularly to maintain the high skillsets required by participating units, including the police dog."
People were encountered at various points during this training exercise, leading to opportunity for officers to explain what was occurring. In each instance, members of the public indicated they were thankful that the training was meant to keep our policing teams sharp and for them to continue to be ready to respond to real events in the future.
Recently, similar tracking skills were used to apprehend a car prowler in the same downtown area of the city. In this instance, that individual faces 37 charges under the Criminal Code.
Car prowler tracked and apprehended, faces 37 charges | Royal Canadian Mounted Police (rcmp-grc.gc.ca)
With regards to the January 11, 2023 training exercise, Yukon RCMP are conducting a review of the situation. We would like to speak to anyone who witnessed the exercise held on this date. Please contact the RCMP at 867-667-5551 or our Communications email listed below.
The Yukon RCMP remains committed to providing respectful and responsive policing to Yukoners and the communities we serve.
Quick Facts Surrounding Yukon RCMP Training Exercises
- Police will continue to consider public notifications where and as appropriate on training exercises.
- The nature of these exercises means that they need to be as realistic as possible and fully controlled. In an urban setting such as Whitehorse, that means that possible distractions such as bystanders and traffic be present and not possibly influenced by advanced notice given to the public of the exercise.
- While training in the community, police officers speak to anyone they encounter and explain what they are doing.
- In-person permission is obtained before the "suspect" hides on any private property and is also sought when possible for any egress onto property;
- Tracking can go for long distances and periods of time so direct notification of every person who might observe the exercise is not possible nor practical.
- RCMP 911 dispatchers are informed of these training exercises so they can answer questions if members of the public call in.