Cawsey joined the Alberta Provincial Police in 1917 after serving both in the Edmonton Fire Department and overseas in WW1. He transferred to the RCMP when the Provincial Police amalgamated with the force and retired with the rank of Detective Sergeant in 1943
One of the true innovators of the force, John Cawsey introduced a new weapon to the arsenal of the mounted police, the police dog. Dale of Cawsalta, mentioned in the Dukhobour murder case, was purchased by Cawsey as a companion for the Cawsey's daughter.
Cawsey trained Dale and started using him on the job. As a police dog, Dale was nothing short of phenomenal. in 1935, Dale led Cawsey and a another policeman through a blizzard to the safety of a prairie cabin after their car had stalled .
In 1935, Dale found a lost 2 year old girl for whom 100 men had been searching for 16 hours. On the way to the search, Dale sniffed out two wanted men who had been hiding in a field.
Also in 1935, the Mounted Police saw the value of Police Dogs and purchased Dale and Dale's son and the two dogs became members of the force, Dale with Regimental Number K470.
A monument to Cawsey and Dale is now installed at the RCMP
Police Dog training facility at Innisfail.