BANGALORE: Be it a bank robbery or a bomb threat, the first sniff of crime is a privilege restricted to dogs. In fact, the sniffer dogs are an integral part of the police department. They have cracked many cases in the past where even our men in khaki have failed to do so. But training these dogs is not an easy task at all. It involves rigorous time and effort as the police personnel have to teach the nuances of tracking and understanding the requirements of the Police department.
A few years ago, a bank was robbed and the cops had absolutely no clue about the identity of the criminals behind the incident. Eventually, the case was cracked by intelligent sniffer dogs. City Express takes a peek into the lives of the dogs at the Police Dog Kennel-Training Centre.
The city police has a premier dog squad comprising 50 dogs. In an area spread over 10 acres inside the City Armed Reserve (CAR) South premises in Adugodi, the ‘force 50’ undergoes training everyday. Each dog has its own trained handler and also its own room. Their day starts with a three-hour training in the morning. Then they are segregated into the regular police shifts — morning, afternoon and night — depending on their handlers’ shift.
Police sub inspector for the dog squad, Nagaraj, who has served about 40 years with the training center, feels that it is great to work with dogs. He even says that city’s police dog squad is the numero uno in the country. “I think ours is the best squad in the country. And it has been been proven in several occassion as well. We win gold and other medals every year at the All India Poslice Dog Duty Meet. Even this year, our dog Danny won the first place in the explosives section of the meet,” he says.
He also says that the handlers, who are CAR armed policemen, are very well trained to handle sniffer dogs. “Handlers are trained for a year at the National Training Center for Dogs, run by Border Security Force Academy, at Tekanpur in Madhya Pradesh,” says Nagaraj.
“Police Department has a committee of expert members who choose eligible pups from authorised dog sellers. It is mandatory for a puppy seller to issue health certificate declaring that the pup is eligible to be inducted in the Dog Squad. Each dog owner will be paid Rs 10,000 as purchase price.
Selection of puppies is decided on its age. Usually, a month-old pup will be selected. And it will be trained for the next 18 months. Every dog will be given a name and the naming ceremony is celebrated with great aplomb.
After training, a few dogs will be sent to five other districts across the state. Nagaraj explains.
Once a dog serves 10 years, they are eased into retirement. Finally, the dogs are then handed over to Karuna Animal Welfare Association. “If any volunteer is keen on adopting the dog, they can apply to the Centre,” he adds.