ON THE CASE
PM polices canine recruits
It was the dogs that brought Comrie Keenan back to the police force.
An officer since he was ‘‘a young fella’’, he left the job to see if there was anything else out there and, while he loved the fire brigade, there was one thing missing.
‘‘It was these guys,’’ he said, gesturing to the massive black dog at his feet. ‘‘You just can’t compete with being able to work with these guys.’’
Yesterday, he and his 26-monthold alsatian, named Skudder, graduated from Porirua Police College – though it’s not Keenan’s first time on that beat. ‘‘He’s my fifth dog and they’re all different. He’s particularly good with tracking and apprehension.’’
Calling Skudder a real handful as a pup, his handler said the personality traits that would make him a great police dog also made him hard work at times. ‘‘Not all dogs make the cut but he obviously did. He showed some good traits and he’s also a nice dog to have around people.’’
Watching the graduation was daughter Stevie-Anne, who helped with raising Skudder. She’s the only one of his five daughters who isn’t scared of the dogs. ‘‘He’s sometimes friendly,’’ she said of Skudder.
It’s taken about a year of training to get this far, the pair being joined yesterday by four other graduating duos – two from Customs – and watched by the families who fostered the dogs as pups.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern handed out certificates and spoke of growing up with a policeman father, something she said provided her with a bit of insight into the job police do.
‘‘As the daughter of a policeman, you should never be late to school least you be dropped off with the police lights on.’’
She was no stranger to police dogs either, although much more comfortable around them these days. ‘‘I remember the alsatians that came to visit and they absolutely terrified me, but how can you not adore them unless you’re being chased by them?’’
All general-purpose patrol dogs are german shepherds, which are supplied by the police dog breeding programme, based near Wellington.
According to the police website, its canines respond to more than 30,000 incidents each year. Their handlers are officers with about five years of policing experience.
Devon Cross, 9, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meet police dog pup Hana after yesterday’s graduation ceremony at Porirua Police College.