Drug dogs training in vacant homes
THE Department of Communities is partnering with police to assist with canine drug detection training.
Police handlers undertake regular training sessions with their dogs, often seeking vacant homes so canines have to compete with various scents to locate hidden drugs.
The department is helping by linking officers directly to homes that are untenanted and awaiting redevelopment or sale.
The Times recently attended a training session with members of the WA Police’s Mounted and Canine Operations division at an empty house to watch the teams in action.
Dog handlers Senior Constables Francois Bekker and Craig Garth and their dogs, labrador Sonic and German shepherd Max, were able to detect as little as one gram or a drug pill in two units used to hide the drugs.
Each dog has its own response – either passive or active. Max freezes when he finds the drugs, while Sonic scratches at the spot of the stash.
Senior Constable Tom Fergusson said the more realistic practice scenarios would better equip the canine recruits for detecting drugs.
“You also get the benefit of a high visual police presence at vacant properties that can help to deter criminal action,” he said.
Dog handler Senior Constable Francois Bekker with Max.