eak, an eight-year-old German Shepherd Dog, is a beloved and decorated member of the Vancouver Police Department. During one particular incident, his courage and unyielding dedication to the job proved to be essential to the capture of a dangerous suspect, the protection of his partner Constable Derrick Gibson and the community.
On the evening of January 11th 2013, Teak and Constable Gibson responded to a call of a robbery in progress at a local gas station. A man armed with a knife had entered the store demanding cash and cigarettes from the clerk. The suspect then fled on foot and was eventually located in a popular market area that was busy with shoppers.
Constable Gibson, Teak and another officer, exited their respective police vehicles and approached the armed man. Constable Gibson challenged the suspect, yelling in a commanding voice: “City police, you are under arrest for robbery, get on the ground or I will send my dog.” Hearing this warning, the suspect immediately took off towards a crowd of nearby people. Teak ran after him and caught hold of the suspect’s leg, and brought him down to the ground.
Following Teak to the scene, Constable Gibson and the other officer saw the suspect fighting back, striking Teak multiple times. To their horror, as they got closer, they realized the man was actually repeatedly stabbing and slashing Teak’s neck with his knife. Constable Gibson and the officer tried to overpower the man, but he persisted in his violent attack. Despite his injuries, Teak continued to hold onto the suspect, demonstrating that he truly understood his duty to protect all those around him. It was only after additional officers arrived on the scene and subdued the suspect that he dropped his knife and was handcuffed.
Following the arrest, Constable Gibson carried Teak back to the police truck and saw that he had sustained a 12-inch long slash to his neck, as well as a stab wound approximately 3-inches wide and 3 inches deep. Teak was rushed to the veterinary emergency room where he underwent two surgeries to repair the damage. During his lengthy recovery Teak received many visits from off-duty officers and miraculously, has healed from almost all his wounds.
Constable Gibson believes that, as the first one to confront the armed and dangerous suspect, Teak saved his life, as well as the lives of the civilians who were on the street. In fact, Teak could have even saved the suspect’s life because if the man had confronted the police with his knife it could have turned into a lethal force encounter.
And this isn’t the first time Teak has put his life on the line while on duty – in 2009, Teak received a Meritorious Service Award from the Lieutenant-Governor, as well as the Vancouver Police Department’s Chief Constable’s Commendation for his heroic role in the arrest of a sexual assault offender.
Teak has now retired from active duty and continues to live with Constable Gibson’s family. During his time on the force Teak has proven himself to not only be a committed partner to Constable Gibson and the Vancouver Police Department, but also a true animal hero through his bravery, determination and valour beyond the call of duty.