Gladstone police let the dogs out
By CHRIS LYNCHchrisl@gladstoneobserver.com.au
THE region's criminal element will need to be on their toes because Gladstone police just let the dogs out.
For the first time Gladstone has two specially trained german shepherd dogs, which moved from Cairns with handlers Sergeant Bill Johnson and Constable Brett Mayo.
Ten-year-old Conan and his 12-month-old counterpart Damro share a special connection with their handlers, even living with Sgt Johnson.
'Yeah they live at home with us because they're part of the family. I let Conan out and he likes to get a scratch behind the ears from the kids before work,' Sgt Johnson said.
But the seemingly placid pair "switch on quickly'' when there is a job at hand.
'Their primary responsibility will be to help in searches where offenders have decamped,' Sgt Johnson said.
'There's no shortage of people trying to get away from police and they can track people through bushland.''
Sgt Johnson said the clever canines were adept at tracking missing people, finding objects with human scent on them, helping with break and enters and offenders fleeing domestic violence cases, as well as detecting the presence of illegal drugs.
'One of them is trained to pick up drugs and the associated paraphernalia,' Sgt Johnson said. 'We've had a few drug searches in the area already, and they're also trained for crowd control.'
And the search is on for another addition to the Gladstone dog squad, with Sgt Johnson saying "basically we want the biggest pain in the backside we can find''.
'You want a dog that runs around and digs holes all day,' he said.
'It shows they are always keen to learn and to always be doing something. If you get a lazy dog that sits under the tree all day then they're very hard to train and motivate.'
But before you ring Gladstone police station and try to offload an unwanted mut, Sgt Johnson said they usually only deal with authorised breeders.