Karma Seizes Gun

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 1:45 p.m. June 15, 2016

A deadly weapon, stowed in a public area for easy access, was taken off the streets thanks to the work of a police dog.

A man in TPS uniform with a dog on a desk with a large black gun
Constable Scott Aikman with police dog Karma and the assault-style weapon he sniffed out

Karma and Constable Scott Aikman were going through a housing complex at  30 Tandridge Crescent, at the request of 23 Division, when the dog found an assault-style firearm.

The 13-month-old Dutch and Italian Sheppard is trained to detect guns and drugs.

“Basically, the officers in the Division engaged in Project Revolution wanted to check the complex’s common areas for any hidden contraband,” said Aikman. “While passing a thick bush area next to one of the yards in the complex, Karma caught the scent of something in the wind and her head snapped back. She ran straight into the bush and her tail began wagging as she showed signs that she had found something.”

An officer went into the area and found an assault-style weapon.

Karma and Aikman have been working together since last November when he started training the dog.

It was obviously placed there by criminals. It was wrapped up and ready to be grabbed very easily

“She came to us as a puppy and has been patrolling the streets with me since graduating last February,” said the handler. “For such a young puppy, she is truly amazing. She has already located massive amounts of illegal drugs, hundreds of thousands of dollars of drug-tainted money, firearms, ammunition and a highly sophisticated electronic trap hidden in a drug dealer’s Bentley car that was allegedly used to conceal his guns. I am very proud of her as to how quickly she has become an excellent detector dog and an amazing partner.”

Karma is the newest of the Toronto Police Dog Service’s three drug-and-gun detector dogs. 

The others are Folsom and Memphis.

Superintendent Ron Taverner, the 23 Division unit commander, praised Karma for the find.

“The gun was in an area where children play and anyone could have picked it up,” he said. “It was obviously placed there by criminals. It was wrapped up and ready to be grabbed very easily.”

Taverner said this is not the first time that officers have found weapons while patrolling the northwest corridor of the city.

“In conjunction with Toronto Housing security personnel, we walk through public housing areas occasionally looking for weapons that might be hidden and we have found some before,” he said. “This is, however, the first time we have found that type of weapon and it’s great that it is off the streets.”

Project Revolution was launched last April to combat escalating gun violence in the northwest end of the city. The joint effort involves 12, 23 and 31 Divisions, along with the Guns & Gang Task Force.

“The officers actively investigate all shootings in the three Divisions,” Taverner said. “In addition to the investigative aspect, a heavy emphasis is placed on developing sources, making arrests and dealing with the community part of things. We have had a lot of success since the program was launched, making arrests and seizures.”

Because of the success, the project –slated to conclude on June 9 – has been extended until fall.

TPS crest watermark