In September, Peel Regional Police Constable Kurtis Vaughan and his partner, police service dog Timber received a Life-Saving Award from the National Association of Professional Canine Handlers (NAPCH) for locating a missing child last summer.

In the early morning hours of July 19, a five-year-old boy was reported missing from a Brampton residence. Peel Regional Police uniform officers flooded the area and began their search efforts.

Cst. Vaughan and Timber participated in the search and located the boy in a wooded area near a set of train tracks. Though the child was unconscious and suffering from serious, life-threatening injuries, he survived after receiving treatment at a trauma centre. The efforts of Vaughan and Timber in quickly locating the child were considered key to his survival.

“A call like this, an opportunity to save a life, makes the countless hours of training and a whole career worthwhile,” said Vaughan. “The successful outcome in this case was a team effort. I’m thankful to the quick and decisive actions of all officers and paramedics involved in this call. I also credit our success to the training Timber and I received from the master trainer of our unit.”

Vaughan is a 16-year veteran of the Peel Regional Police Service who worked in various uniform patrol and investigative units before joining the Canine Unit in 2017. His partner, Timber, is a two-and-a-half year old male Belgian Shepherd who was born in Hungary and began his service dog training with Vaughan at the age of 14 months.

NAPCH hosts an annual training seminar and conference for top trainers and canine teams from across North America. The event takes place at the Combat Readiness Training Centre in Alpena, Michigan. As part of the event, the Association recognizes excellence in the field. The Life Saving Award is presented to a canine team who has shown extraordinary efforts in preserving a life. The award is the highest and most prestigious of those awarded by the NAPCH.

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