Azur was born October 16, 2008, at the RCMP Police Dog Service Training Centre, Innisfail, Alberta. His parents were products of the RCMP breeding program. His dad “Mirko” was a proven working dog in Nova Scotia.
Potential Police Service Dog Azur was assigned to RCMP Imprinter Cst. Nic Motycka and his Supervisor, RCMP Dog Handler Ottila Toldy in Edmonton, Alta. at eight weeks old, in December 2008. Azur remained in Edmonton until March 2010, when he was paired with Cst. Bill Taylor. Cst. Taylor and Azur attended the RCMP Basic Dog Handler Course in April 2010, where they spent the next 85 working days training together, until graduation on September 10, 2010.
Cst. Taylor and Azur returned to Chase, B.C. in September 2010 awaiting a transfer to Burnaby, B.C. Azur was utilized on several files while in Chase and performed his first successful track of a male that had fled on foot from police during a motor vehicle stop. He tracked the suspect and located him hiding in some large rocks on a beach where he was arrested.
Cst. Taylor and Azur arrived at their new post in Burnaby BC, March 2011 and hit the road running. Shortly after arriving in Burnaby, the Lower Mainland District was integrated with New Westminster, Delta, Port Moody and Abbotsford Police. Azur spent the first three years of his service patrolling the north side of the Fraser River, which included Burnaby, North Vancouver, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, and Maple Ridge.
Azur would spend the next three and a half years working in the Fraser Valley covering Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Hope, Boston Bar, with sprinkles of Surrey, Langley, and Aldergrove thrown in from time to time.
Azur had many successes in his six and a half years a Police Service Dog, with some notable catches:
- He tracked an arsonist in Coquitlam from a fire until catching up with him a couple kilometres away.
- He tracked a male that had committed a domestic assault on a rural property in Maple Ridge through berry fields, swam across a twenty-foot-wide irrigation ditch and continued approximately three kilometres through more berry fields, before being forced into a containment car as Azur was on his heels.
- Approximately three years into his service, he arrived at the scene of a robbery in Coquitlam that was very contaminated by human scent, making a track almost impossible. Cst. Taylor deployed Azur hoping he would find a till tray that had been taken and maybe discarded in the area. He did not find the till tray, but did manage to obtain a short track that crossed a parking lot and ended up in a bush, where he located a back pack. Contained in the back pack was a balaclava and some gloves, along with a parking ticket. That parking ticket led police to a certain area in Coquitlam to which they located a stolen vehicle and after setting up surveillance on that vehicle, arrested a male that had gone back to the car. The male was linked to the previous robbery and after a search warrant was executed on his residence, police were able to link him to twenty other robberies in the area. The male was charged with 21 counts and subsequently plead guilty.
- He was called in to assist another dog handler team in Langley as they had tracked and caught two males associated to a theft of a very large safe from an electronics store earlier in the evening and taken to the rural property. A third male was outstanding and due to the large rural area, Azur was utilized to locate a track on the third male from where he had last been observed. Dark became light and the track eventually became scarce as Azur and Cst. Taylor approached a roadway. A neighbor had attended the location and stated that he observed a male crossing a field on the neighboring property a few minutes earlier. Cst. Taylor and Azur were driving to the property when the male was spotted as he was entering some bush area that ran along an irrigation ditch. Cst. Taylor deployed Azur utilizing the wind to his benefit. He immediately recognized the human scent blowing in his face and targeted an area approximately 50 metres away, entered the bush and down the eight-foot embankment to the water filled ditch. Cst. Taylor could hear him apprehend the male and once he had a visual could see that the male was submerged in the water up to his neck and Azur had grabbed a hold of his wrist. The male was taken into custody without further incident.
- Cst. Taylor and Azur were involved in a pursuit of a stolen vehicle from Chilliwack to Hope at which time the stolen vehicle rammed Cst. Taylor’s vehicle from the side and in doing so the vehicle spun out and Cst. Taylor was able to pin the rear passenger door. An Emergency Response Team member was able to arrest the driver while the front passenger fled on foot. Azur was deployed as the male ran away and turned into an alley. Azur apprehended the male half way down the alley and the male into custody. A search of the male revealed that he had a large bag of methamphetamine in his possession.
- He was a very good search dog as well. He had several successes locating narcotics in vehicles and at courier outlets.
- When not tracking suspects that committed criminal offences, Azur was relied upon to track missing people and was successful on five occasions.
In June 2016, Cst. Taylor and Azur were involved in a file to which a female was driving through Chilliwack stating that she had a gas can of fuel as well as a propane tank in her vehicle and she was threatening to blow people up. Chilliwack RCMP had attempted to stop the female and she fled, leading members on a pursuit through Chilliwack and onto the Trans Canada Hwy. Cst. Taylor was able to position himself in front of the vehicle on the Highway and attempted to stop her from continuing on. The female was able to get along side of Cst. Taylor’s vehicle and as a spike belt was deployed she rammed into Cst. Taylor sending him into a meridian at 85 km per hour. Cst. Taylor’s vehicle, with Azur in the kennel behind him, was sent end over end and spinning twice before coming to rest on the highway. Although Cst. Taylor suffered a concussion and upper back injuries, somehow Azur came out of the collision without a scratch. He was cleared by a vet the next morning, showing how tough he really was.
Azur spent all of his career eager to work. His handler could truly rely on him to protect his life in any situation. Although Azur was a very good work dog, he had a sensitive side to him as well, which allowed Cst. Taylor to perform many school talks and demos where kids were able to pet him. Azur was never afraid to jump an eight-foot fence or tredge down a twenty foot ravine without batting an eye if it meant catching a suspect he was tracking.
Cst. Taylor decided well before Azur’s career came to an end in December 2016, that he would keep Azur upon his retirement and look after him – much the way Azur looked after him. Cst. Taylor attempted many times to acclimate Azur to living inside his house, however he is more content when living outside.
Recently, Azur has developed some soreness in his back and that his rear legs do not work the same as in the past. A trip to the vet confirmed that AZUR has deteriorating myopathy in his rear legs and spine, which for now means that he will be on pain medications to help him get around.