A peek into the lives of canine officers

A peek into the lives of canine officers

The dogs that hound criminals, track explosives, narcotics

A peek into the lives of canine officers

 Her big brown doey eyes and lost-in-the woods look deeply contrast the job she does - which is sniffing out danger. Suzi, the Labrador, is one among the intelligent sniffers in the Bengaluru police dog squad.

The squad consists of 61 dogs, which is an integral arm of effective, city-wide policing. The handlers and their dogs spend many hours together training, working and establishing a formidable partnership to combat crime.

In an area inside the City Armed Reserve (CAR) South premises in Adugodi, the canine squad undergoes training every day. These canine officers start their day by 7 a m and work in three shifts. Their job profile includes conducting routine checks at railway stations, bus stands, the Chief Minister’s residence, Vidhan Soudha, Vikas Soudha, and being deployed at important or urgent events. Each dog specialises in these policing categories: explosives tracking, crime, search and rescue, guard and narcotics tracking.

During one of the training sessions, Ginny, Danny, Rocky, Reva, Moti and Suzi mesmerised everyone as they saluted, sat, stood, rolled on the ground as instructed by their handlers, caught a “thief”, sniffed out a handkerchief, “discovered hidden explosives” and jumped over hurdles and through hoops. And they were not dog-tired at all. Obeying the commands given by their handlers, the canine members of the force put on a stellar display of why they are considered indispensable when it comes to fighting crime.

To train a dog, it’s natural hunting skills are sharpened with daily coaching. “Training usually starts when they are four months old. Around 2 hours of training daily with their handlers and the master trainers make them perfect for the job,” said police inspector Linga Reddy, who looks after the dog squad. Currently, the City police has three breeds: Labradors, Dobermans and German Shepherds.

Each dog has its own kennel. A visit to the kennels gives a clear picture of how well the police look after their canine partners. “The kennels are spacious enough for the dogs to take a walk and are kept clean and spotless. We make sure it is comfortable for them,” said Reddy.

Apart from these six four-legged sleuths, the other dogs too were busy with their rigorous training sessions. “They are an important part of any police team. Recently, Reva, the Doberman, helped us solve a theft case at the Peenya police station. She assisted us in identifying the thief. Similarly, Sapna, another Doberman, helped us in solving a murder case at the Magadi Road police station. Danny, one of the German Shepherds, was awarded a gold medal for narcotics detection,” said DCP (CAR) South Kanthjarappa.

Though many threats turn out to be hoaxes, the dog squad has to be pressed into service each and every time. So, on an average, a dog has to go on duty twice a day. “Training them requires a lot of patience, time and energy. The master trainers here have almost 20 years of experience in the field and have been trained from the National Centre for Dogs, Madhya Pradesh. It takes around 9 months to an year to train a dog and then, it requires daily training sessions,” added the DCP.

After 10-12 years of relentless service, the dogs are handed over to Karuna Animal Welfare Association, where they spend their retirement years peacefully.

Dogs’ schedule

The dogs are taken for routine medical check-ups every month.
They have a daily grooming session, which is divided into various categories such as 3 to 6 minutes of massaging, 10 minutes of brushing, 3 minutes of cleaning eyes, teeth, de-ticking, etc.

 All important information about the dog is displayed outside each kennel. For example, name of the dog, DOB, breed, vaccination date, insurance date, purpose of use, name of the handler, etc.

Danny, the German Shepherd, won a gold medal in narcotics detection in 2011. Arya, Pepsi and many others have also won awards for their services.

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