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Keeley’s dream job is top dog
A POLICE dog handler is one of the most coveted jobs in the force, according to one officer who spent nine years trying to break into the job.
PC Keeley Powles has two dogs in her care – a 10-month-old cocker spaniel called Ollie who is being trained to be an explosives dog and three-year-old German Shepherd Griff who is a qualified all-purpose dog trained to stop offenders in their tracks.
PC Powles said: “Griff has been on the streets for 12 months. He will help with missing from homes and is trained to search in open spaces.
“If there has been a burglary or a stolen car and someone has run off he will track offenders and property.
“He is also used for public order and is trained to bite if someone runs off and they don’t stop when he barks. He is a great working dog.”
Griff, who is a new contestant in the police dog trials, has even been trained to do an emergency stop and will come back to PC Powles on command.
Ollie is at the beginning of his career as a police dog – he was rescued by Cheshire Constabulary while in a dogs’ home after he was unwanted by his previous owner.
PC Powles added: “Ollie will go all over the country, especially with the Olympics coming up and with Royal visits.
“He is doing 40-minute searches for one find – he doesn’t give up. His training started off with playing with a ball, learning to find it and eventually, instead of the ball, he was taught to find the different smells of explosives.
“When he finds it, he sits by it, looks at it and barks. He is not allowed to touch it for obvious reasons – it’s taken him a bit to learn not to play with it but he’s done really well.
“At first, the training is definitely a game but eventually they learn that they are coming to work. They will bark when the sirens go on and they know when the car stops they will be getting out and doing a job.”
Cheshire Constabulary has six dog handlers with dogs trained in finding explosives and drugs as well as being for general purpose.