Block Watch captains from the Nanaimo area, numbering about 100 in all, turned out for an annual regional meeting hosted by the Nanaimo RCMP at Beban Park social centre Thursday.
Attendees were brought up to speed with the latest information about gangs, social housing issues and street crime.
The gathering was also treated to a demonstration of police dog work by Cpl. Dean Muir, head of Nanaimo RCMP’s police dog section, and his dog Hawk. Like most RCMP dogs, Hawk is trained in a number of roles, from tracking criminals or people who might be lost or missing to defending Muir or himself in the event they are attacked.
Hawk is also specially trained to sniff out explosives, which can include bomb materials or even spent firearm cartridge casings for evidence collection and gave a demonstration of his ability by sniffing out tiny objects hidden for him to find.
The demonstration was also an opportunity to educate the audience about methods to protect crime scenes from contamination and note details and observations to give police dog handlers and their dogs the best chance of successfully tracking suspects or missing persons.