Welcoming the Northern Tablelands’ first-ever Police Dog Unit today in Inverell, New England Police District Commander Superintendent Steve Laksa, left, Inverell Officer-in-Charge Chief Inspector Rowan O’Brien, Dog Handler Senior Constable Chris Hill, Police Dog Atlas (General Purpose), Police Dog Wags (Cadaver/drug detection), Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and Acting Western Region Police Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Peter McKenna.
Wednesday, 3 February 2021.
Two dogs and handler to help tackle drugs & serious crime
IN what’s been heralded as an ‘historic day in local policing’ by Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall, the region’s first-ever permanent NSW Police Dog Unit officially commenced work, on the beat in Inverell today.
Mr Marshall was joined by Inverell Shire Mayor Paul Harmon, Deputy Mayor Anthony Michael and local police to meet and welcome the latest additions to the force, Police Dog Atlas and Police Dog Wags, along with their handler, Senior Constable Chris Hill.
In 2018, Mr Marshall initiated a campaign to have facilities to house a Police Dog Unit included in the design for the $16 million new Inverell Police Station and today he couldn’t be more proud that those efforts had now paid huge dividends.
“Until today the New England Police District and the Northern Tablelands has never had its own dedicated dog unit to assist local police keep the community safe,” Mr Marshall said.
“Our Police have always had to ‘borrow’ police dogs and handlers from as far away as Coffs Harbour or Sydney, which requires many weeks of notice and planning.
“Having this new resource, that’s ours and based here in the middle of our region is a huge win for our men and women in blue whose ability to track down, arrest and charge would-be criminals is now greatly enhanced.”
Mr Marshall said that unlike the Oxley Police District, based around Tamworth, the Northern Tablelands had secured two police dogs – a general purpose dog (Atlas) and a cadaver/drug detection dog (Wags) – which would give police greater ability than ever before to track down offenders.
“Police Dog Atlas and Police Dog Wags moved to Inverell at the start of January with their handler and since then they have made their presence felt, participating in a number of local police operations,” he said.
“Wags is one of only two cadaver trained police dogs in NSW, which is an enormous coup for us and will give our country police an extra resource when dealing with search and rescue operations or other more heinous crimes.
“NSW Police Dogs are amongst the best trained in the world and provide assistance in a variety of circumstances including searches and drug, firearms and detaining suspects.
“We’re also very lucky to have dog handler in Chris who has already a decade of experience working in this highly specialised field.
“I believe the addition of two police dogs, based at Inverell, will be invaluable in acting as a deterrent for petty crimes such as theft, break-and-enter and trespass.”
“I want to personally welcome Police Dog Atlas and Police Dog Wags and their handler to the New England Police District and look forward to seeing the benefits these important asset will deliver to our community.”
Mr Marshall thanked NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller for fulfilling his commitment to the police district by appointing the new officer.
“During a meeting with Commissioner Fuller in Inverell last year he gave the indication the appointment of this unit was imminent and today I can say he has delivered,” he said.
“While the unit will be based in Inverell, it will be an extraordinary resource, which will be available for police in every community across the Northern Tablelands – from Mungindi to Ebor, up to Tenterfield and own to Armidale and Uralla.”