The newest member of a specialist Metro Vancouver Transit Police unit will bear the name and legacy of a fallen Calgary police officer.
Harnett, one of two explosive-detection dogs turned on Thursday at a graduation ceremony, is named after Calgary Police Department Sgt. Andrew Harnett, who was fatally injured on New Year’s Eve 2020. Harnett was hit by a vehicle fleeing a traffic stop and later succumbed to his injuries.
The two-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer and his attendant, Lisa Mackay, will patrol trains, buses and sea links serving 22 communities in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland region.
“We will never forget the ultimate sacrifice Andrew made and it is comforting to know that he will also be remembered in Vancouver,” the Calgary Police Department and Harnett’s family said in a statement.
The second dog, Chopper, is an 18-month-old black Lab retriever named for Abbotsford Police Const. Ryan (Chopper) Masales, who died on March 20 after being diagnosed with an aggressive stage 4 brain tumor nearly four years earlier.
Sergeant Gord McGuinness, of the Metro Vancouver Transit Police, said the graduating dogs will help people remember the two fallen officers.
“This will be an opportunity for our handlers to tell the stories of these two fine officers and what they’ve done for the police force and the legacy they’ve left behind,” McGuinness said in a video post.
The two dogs were awarded service medals at Thursday’s ceremony, where McGuinness spoke about Harnett’s work during his 12 years with the Calgary Force.
“He was passionate about his role in the community and participated in many fundraising activities through the Calgary Police Department,” McGuinness said.
“Andrew didn’t need formal recognition for anything, but he earned the respect of those who knew him, worked with him and his community.”
An outdoor track in the northeastern community of Calgary where Harnett served was dedicated in his name last September. The rink is located at the Falconridge/Castleridge Community Association.
Harnett’s family was unable to attend the ceremony on Thursday but posted their appreciation on social media.
“What an honor. Another real digger named #Harnett is back on duty,” Andrews brother Jason Harnett tweeted.