Canine experience

MEET AND GREET: Senior Constable First Class Nic Whiteside and Harper greet Reidy Park Primary School students. SCHOOL VISIT: South Australian Police Dog Operations Unit Senior Constable First Class Nic Whiteside and Harper with Reidy Park Primary School students Brodie and Lexie. Pictures: SAM DOWDY
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DOG UNIT: South Australian Police Dog Operations Unit Senior Constable First Class Bruce Lawton and Rebel enjoyed visiting Reidy Park Primary School, where the dogs completed demonstrations for students.

REIDY Park Primary School students learnt about four-legged members of South Australia’s police force when the SAPOL Dog Operations Unit visited recently.

Three police officers and two dogs from the unit attended the school, along with an officer from Mount Gambier Police.

They spoke briefly to Year 3, 4 and 5 students before presenting a demonstration with the dogs.

Explosives detection dog Harper showed off her skills by detecting an object underneath one of four cones at the back of the school’s gymnasium.

Students praised the labrador forher work when she located the device.

Younger dog Rebel, who is not as experienced as Harper, demonstrated her obedience.

The German shepherd is trained to detect human odour and track down people who run from police.

The dog unit was in the region for a two-week training camp, which finished on Friday.

Training was completed at Port MacDonnell and the Mount Gambier central business district.

Port MacDonnell residents regularly allow police to use their yards for theannual training.

Senior Constable First Class Neil Stevenson said the South East’s environment and community allowed the unit to undergo an intensive training camp each year.

“Some of the residents have been allowing us to complete training at their properties for 10 years,” he said.

“The community reception we receive each year from both Port MacDonnell and Mount Gambier is fantastic and very welcoming.

“We visit one school each year as part of the training, which is good socialising for the dogs and helps them become comfortable around large numbers of people.

“The school visits also provide children with great exposure to police in a positive way.”

The dog operations unit also visits Mount Gambier in an official capacity upon the request of Limestone Coast Police and works closely with South East officers when needed.