Constable Bill Dodd and his partner, Odin, got the call near midnight in early March of 2004. Some time earlier, other officers with Calgary Police Service spotted a car parking at the rear of a suspected crack house. When they investigated, suspects fled from the car.
One man was caught but, in an ensuing struggle, the other man fired a handgun, narrowly missing one of the officers. The suspect then fled on foot into the darkness of the neighbourhood. There was no snow on the ground, no easy footprint trail to follow. The officers called for canine and tactical squad backup.
Constable Dodd and Odin were alerted to an infra-red hot spot detected on the ground by the police force’s helicopter. Now, it was a matter of finding the suspect in the dark before further shots were fired. The man had already shown he was willing to use deadly force.
Odin, a 90-pound (41-kilogram) German Shepherd began to track as Constable Dodd held him on a 30-foot (nine-metre) line. Odin went through an opening in a fence, then suddenly started pulling hard on the leash. Constable Dodd knew Odin had located the suspect so he called the other officers to the site.
The tactical team played flashlight beams over the yard but it was difficult to pick out the suspect. Odin strained at the leash, eager to finish the job. Constable Dodd knew his companion couldn’t be left exposed as a potential target so he released the line.
At that moment, the man jumped up and raised the handgun. Before he could fire, however, Odin was on him, striking the man hard, and knocking the gun from his hand. In an instant, he had the suspect on the ground. Police swarmed the scene and handcuffed him.
The man was charged with attempted murder but, while awaiting trial, died of a drug overdose in March last year. Both Constable Dodd and Odin, his partner of six years, received commendations for their roles in the takedown