ADUGODI: As terror gripped Bangaloreans after the December 28 blast on Church Street, the city police decided to rely once again on their sniffer dog squad to nose out trouble in congested streets and malls.
Bengaluru's squad has a total of 61 sniffer dogs of which 15 are still undergoing preliminary training. The squad was earlier short of dogs. and was provided 15 more after police submitted an appeal to the state government.
Pups, not more than three months old, are bought from breeders after a series of assessment tests and then trained extensively.
Breeds like the Labrador retriever, German shepherd and Doberman Finscher are used for explosive and narcotic detection, sniff out evidence on the crime scene and help in rescue operations.
A total of 28 canines are assigned to bomb detection. This specific group regularly inspects important spots like the Vidhana Sou-dha,Vikasa Soudha, and residences of the chief ministers and other VIPs to ensure security.
During the first nine months, the dogs undergo preliminary training and are disciplined and taught to conform to military ways. When this reporter visited the centre, the squad showed off their entire repertoire of skills and the demonstration was impressive.
Inspector Ningareddy Patil, who is the chief supervisor of the only dog squad based at the City Armed Reserve ( South), Adugodi, and a former participant in an international workshop held in Washington DC says, “During the formal training session, our major challenge is to counter the passivity when dogs don’t show interest in the activities.
The second is the difficulty of scent conditioning where we familiarise them with different kinds of scents.”
Somashekhar T, another police trainer. says, “For instance, the dogs in explosive detection are repeatedly exposed to materials like gunpowder, safety fuse, TNT, slurry and chemicals such as ammonium nitrate.”
However, the worst time for trainers and dogs is when it rains. During the monsoon, or during a fire incident, all trails leading to any evidence are washed away or reduced to smoke.
These dogs are looked after well and their health is monitored with a monthly health check-up and regular vaccinations. They retire once they turn 10 after, which they are handed over to organisations such as CUPA.