The homicide detective who led the investigation into serial killer Bruce McArthur is hanging up his business suit and getting back into uniform saying his new job will be somewhat therapeutic.
Detective Dave Dickinson, who is in his 18th year with the Toronto Police Service, has been accepted into the canine unit, where he will be working as a dog handler.
“I just think it’s time, personally. It’s time for me to be doing something a little different and I’m looking forward to the change,“ said Dickinson Monday, after completing an eight-hour shift at the canine unit’s Beechwood Drive facility off the Don Valley Parkway.
The 38-year-old, who has spent his last five years in the homicide unit, says watching two police cadaver dogs and their handlers helped solve the Bruce McArthur case inspired him to make the move. Dickinson says the police dogs who worked on the serial murder investigation renewed an interest he had earlier on in his career. He called their work “impressive”.
“You know we were able to bring closure to the families by returning the remains of their loved ones, “ Dickinson said.
Dickinson says working in the homicide squad over the last five years has also taken a toll on his wife and his two children, aged 7 and 11. Sometimes getting called in to investigate a homicide in the middle of the night or on weekends.
“It’s not just this investigation. Investigating murders, in general, was tough and it takes a toll on your family. I have young kids that I’d like to be around for a little bit more.”
Dickinson’s boss in homicide, Ins. Hank Idsinga, is happy for his friend and colleague but admits he will be missed.
“I remember the day he came to me when he found (McArthur’s) red van. I remember the day he came to me and he said, we think we know whose van it is, and guess what, it’s someone who was interviewed in 2013 during Project Houston,” said Idsinga.
Idsinga says he looks forward to seeing Dickinson at a crime scene. He jokes that he will ask Dickinson to put away the dog and come help the homicide detectives with the investigation.
Dickinson’s formal training at the canine unit begins next Monday and is expected to last four months. Sgt. Jon Rose, who will be helping with training, says Dickinson could be ready to work on actual investigations by May.
He has yet to be assigned a dog but for now, is working with a four-legged partner named Bruno.