Six outstanding Eastern Cape police officers won accolades in various categories at the weekend, and the province’s K9 unit was voted best in the country.
Police spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the national K9 award ceremony in Port Elizabeth on Saturday night was the culmination of a number of provincial competitions held throughout 2016.
The nine categories included best tracker, narcotics detection, explosive detection, patrol dog discipline, search and rescue, protected species detection dogs, fire investigation, currency detection and biological fluid detection.
Colonel Vimla Moodley won best commander of police emergency services. Moodley is responsible for all of the K9 and the mounted units in the province, 10111 command centres, flying squads, hostage and suicide negotiations, disaster management, accident combating units and police diving services.
Sergeant Romano Spannerberg and his dog Gavin came first in the protected species category, Warrant Officer Jaco Potgieter in search and rescue, Sergeant Marelize Rudolph came second in narcotics detection K9 discipline and Constable Mkhululi Lamani in patrol dog discipline, while Sergeant Memezile Ntinganti took third place in tracker dog discipline.
“The K9 unit is a critical component to our efforts in the prevention and combating of crime throughout the country. These units are most often in the front line and exposed to potentially dangerous situations like tracking of serious offenders during patrols and search and rescue operations,” Naidoo said.
“This event offers a perfect opportunity to ensure that national standards are maintained as well as that the capacity and capabilities by both the K9 handler and dogs within the respective disciplines are enhanced.
“Such a competition also helps to enhance the welfare of the dogs through engaging our veterinary services. This platform further ensures that the health, fitness and social interaction with other dogs is also assessed.”
Moodley said she was overjoyed at the win.
“It really is such a boost to have all of your hard work and your dedication rewarded,” she said.
Despite the important work they did, Naidoo said, the SAPS was experiencing some trouble sourcing dogs to join their ranks.
“We encourage breeders and the community at large to consider donating dogs between the age of eight weeks and seven months. Only thoroughbred dogs will be welcomed and the preferred breed of the dog can either be a German shepherd, border collie, rottweiler, golden retriever, Jack Russel, Labrador, Dutch shepherd, bloodhound or cocker spaniel,” Moodley urged. — firstname.lastname@example.org