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Toronto police mourn loss of beloved service dog: ‘It’s shocking’

Flags remain at half-mast outside Toronto Police Service buildings, as members grieve the loss of two-year-old PSD Bingo.

The German Shepherd joined the force last year, and after undergoing 16 weeks of rigorous training, he graduated.

Toronto police say Bingo is the first service dog they have lost in the line of duty.

On Friday, Global News spoke to Supt. Colin Greenaway, the unit commander of specialized emergency response for the Toronto Police Service.

Greenaway oversees three specialized units, including police dog services.

When asked about the relationship between handler and K9, he described it as ‘unprecedented.’

“It’s like no other bond that anyone could ever fathom,” said Greenaway.

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Bingo was Sgt. Brandon Smith’s first service dog.

His death has had a profound impact on members across the force. On Thursday morning, many showed up to bid farewell to the young pup as his body was escorted from the Veterinary Emergency Clinic downtown to the University of Guelph for “end of life veterinary services.”

“It’s shocking. It’s something that you can’t prepare yourself for,” said Greenaway. “To see your member distraught, to see one of our members executed in the line of duty is catastrophic.”

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Greenaway tells Global News that mental health supports have been made available to members as they try to navigate the immense loss.

Bingo was fatally shot during a search for an armed suspect on Tuesday night. Police have since identified the 44-year-old suspect as Kenneth Grant of Toronto.

Grant has since been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of 24-year-old Sophonias Haile.

“Bingo did his job to the 100th degree. He went in there, he located a person who was wanted for a very serious crime — a murder — and located that person,” said Greenaway.

“And as a result…he saved a life, not only for Sgt. Brandon Smith, but also the tactical officers who were in pursuit of that wanted person.”

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Toronto Police Dog Services was formed in 1989. Currently, there are 32 service dogs.

Each canine is specially trained to perform different tasks, such as explosives and cadaver detection, narcotics and firearms.

A book of condolences has since been set up online. One is also available to sign at Toronto Police headquarters on College Street. It will be accessible to the public over the weekend from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

&© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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