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Specialized Units

These specialist units provide unique skills and expertise
to support the day to day of operational units

Canine Unit

Canine teams are constantly on the move, tracking suspects and searching for people and/or evidence. It’s a policing career with immediate gratification — catching criminals and protecting the citizens of Edmonton.

The vast majority of calls to the Canine Unit are attempts to locate suspects who have fled a crime scene. The EPS currently has 12 general purpose dogs plus one in training for explosives detection.

EPS members must have a minimum of five years of service before applying to the Canine Unit.

Forensic Identification Services

Officers in Forensic Identification Services Section (crime scene investigations) are dedicated exclusively to their field and provide a support service to patrol members, major crimes, special investigations and criminal investigations.

Contrary to what is often portrayed on TV, our members do not complete the scientific examinations that provide information such as DNA profiles or handwriting comparisons. Their work focuses on identifying and collecting the exhibits that are sent for scientific analysis. Without the focused and detail-oriented work of our forensics officers, justice would not be served.

EPS constables with at least five years of patrol duty can apply for positions in the Forensic Identification Services Section. Interested members are required to have demonstrated exceptional investigation skills while working in patrol. Members who are selected train at the Canadian Police College for eight weeks in the forensic identification field to learn about:

  • fingerprint techniques and identification

  • photography

  • crime scene(s) examination

Flight Operations Unit

The Flight Operations Unit is one of only eight full-time police helicopter programs in operation within Canada and the only municipal program that uses sworn members as pilots. This not only gives officers an opportunity to work in a unique position within policing, but also ensures that our pilots and flight crew are as committed to catching offenders as our members on the street.

Both the AIR 1 and AIR 2 helicopters are Airbus H125 (AS350 B3e) models and are outfitted with key pieces of mission equipment.


A pilot works with a tactical flight officer (also a sworn police member) as part of a team onboard the helicopter. The Flight Operations Unit flies approximately 1,800 hours per year, arriving quickly on-scene to support patrol operations including:

  • locating suspects

  • locating missing persons

  • assisting patrol and other ground units in safe arrests

  • safely managing vehicle criminal flights

  • providing officer safety at traffic stops

  • monitoring erratic or dangerous drivers

  • assisting with containment on canine calls

  • assisting ground staff in managing large volumes of people and demonstration / riot situations

EPS constables can apply to become tactical flight officers when there are positions available. Applicants are screened through a rigorous, multistage application process that involves both ground and inflight testing. Members interested in joining Flight Operations Unit as a pilot need to have a valid helicopter license prior to joining the unit. 

Tactical Unit

High-risk occurrences are part of the job, but no unit faces them more than the Tactical Unit. The EPS Tactical  Unit was formed in 1973 as a result of a study conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The study indicated that any city with a substantial population should have a specialized unit to deal with high-risk occurrences.

The Tactical Unit consists of one staff sergeant, one training and tactics sergeant and three full-time tactical teams. On any given day, tactical teams have to be ready to take part in:

  • high-risk occurrences involving hostages or armed and barricaded persons

  • apprehending dangerous criminals

  • executing high-risk search warrants

  • assisting other areas such as Homicide, Drug and Gang Unit

  • security duties (VIPs)

  • consulate liaison duties

The Tactical Unit also has several sub-units:

  • hostage negotiators

  • Explosive Disposal Unit

  • Sniper Unit

EPS members with approximately eight years of service can apply and compete for positions with the Tactical Unit. Members must be exceptional police officers with excellent decision making skills, be motivated and consistently receive the gold level in physical fitness testing.

Interested individuals compete in Tactical Reserve Mini-Camp consisting of fitness, marksmanship, observation skills and cognitive thinking. The next step is the successful completion of the 10-week Tactical Reserve Class.

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