A great new initiative by the West Australian Police Force has seen the inaugural school of dual purpose police dogs graduate, and become operational.
Five new canine teams will hit the frontline after completing an intensive 18 week course.
The recruits are part of a national first – WA is the first state to train Police dogs as both general purpose and narcotic detection dogs, enabling greater flexibility in policing on the front line.
The four-legged graduates and their handlers trained in all aspects of police work, including narcotic and scent detection, offender tracking, bite and apprehension work.
The average working life of a police dog is seven years.
The graduating class of July 2018 is:
Police Minister, Michelle Roberts, congratulated the new canine teams at a graduation ceremony held at the Maylands Police Complex.
Ms Roberts commented that unfortunately drugs are more and more prevalent in the community, so there’s no better time to have general purpose dogs who can also sniff out drugs.
“A search of a car or house that might take hours and hours with several police officers, often at times the drug dog can detect those drugs very very quickly and save a lot of Police time,”
Not only do they increase Police frontline productivity, offenders are more compliant when in the presence of a police dog.
“These dogs are exceptionally valuable, they can certainly save police from being involved in some violent situations. We find that when the dogs are deployed the offenders are very quick to comply,”
Senior Sergeant, Glen Potter, said the force was looking at how they could expand their capabilities, so training dogs to be dual handled was a massive step forward.
While these canine teams are on the streets putting their skills into practice, Mr Potter commented drug detection skills will only improve with age, as their training continues out of puppy-hood and into their adult dog lives.
The amount of positive impact these dogs will have is immeasurable, he said.
“If we’ve got a vehicle or a house that needs to be quickly searched at 4am in the morning, we have that capacity to do it, and it saves a lot of time, assists the investigators and obviously reduces time,”
Snr. Sergeant Potter hopes the dual handling initiative will be implemented nationwide after the success we’ve had here in WA.