Police dog Hemmi dies after 9-year career protecting Oshawa, Pickering and more

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Published June 5, 2023 at 12:47 pm

PSD Hemmi died yesterday at 15 years old following a nine-year career with Durham Regional Police.

Durham Regional Police are mourning a decorated member of the service after the death of Police Service Dog (PSD) Hemmi following his more than nine-year career catching crooks and finding lost people.

Hemmi’s death was announced on Jun. 6 nearly 15 years after he joined the Durham Police K-9 Unit in 2009. The German shepherd was born in Slovakia, according to K-9 retiree charity Ned’s Wish.

He was then brought to Canada to train for police service alongside his handler Cst. Corby Wright. While this training typically takes 65 days, Hemmi learned the ropes of explosive and firearms detection in 51 days, according to the Chronicle.

Hemmi stood out as the fastest dog in the Durham K-9 unit with a max speed recorded at 51 km/h. He also set the record for the longest track down, finding a suspect who was 8 kilometres away.

While Hemmi and Wright often worked to track down suspects, including a notable arrest of suspected armed robbers in 2016, they also worked to protect Durham’s most vulnerable. Together they found a missing woman with Alzhiemer’s who had wandered more than 1.5 kilometres from her home into the woods.

The 80-year-old woman had left her home in the middle of the night and had gotten lost in the 200 square kilometres of greenspace around her house. However, Hemmi and Wright found her after a 20-minute search. The pair also worked together to find missing people in distress.

This work culminated in an award for the pair in 2015 when Wright won the DRPS K-9 Unit Handler of the Year.

Hemmi retired from general patrol in 2018 at nine years old, but he continued to occasionally work in explosive detection.

He still wasn’t done helping the community out though. The 2019 K-9 calendar, which features Hemmi and Wright, continued the then-five-year tradition of raising money for charity. By this time, the calendars had raised $126,000 for charities within the Region.

The K-9 unit produces these calendars on their own and sells them in local businesses during their time off work. The entire unit, including Hemmi and Wright, received a Hero of the Year Award for their efforts.

Following his retirement, Hemmi led a simple life with Wright often carting about his favourite Kong toy while trying to fit another in his mouth.

He died on Jun. 4 with Wright and his family by his side.

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