Police Dog

June 26, 2020

When not busy catching baddies, police dog Buzz recently found time to stand to attention and bark his thanks outside Coventry’s hospital during the Clap for Carers, reducing some of the nurses present to tears.

That noble vision sums up the dedication, heroism and compassion of the Warwickshire police dog section.

Newly liberated from its ties to the West Mercia division, the WPD is making the most of its fresh start, with new dogs being trained and even establishing its own Twitter account.

The section consists of ten human handlers, who usually look after one or two dogs.

Buzz’s handler, Sgt Andrew Rawson, told the Herald how it worked.

“Every handler has a general purpose dog, which is a big dog, some of which are trained to work with firearms teams – they are called firearm support dogs.

“Generally, the big dogs look for criminals, missing persons, and search for people who have run off crime scenes or burglars hiding in buildings etc.

“They will look for disgarded items, such as weapons at a crime scene or property that’s thrown from a burglary. The dogs will identify people’s scent on items and show the handler where the item is – like thrown into a ditch, or wherever it might be.”

During the coronavirus pandemic, Sgt Rawson says they have also been busy helping people to understand what the lockdown rules are and how to abide by them.

He added: “Unfortunately there’s still a criminal element that are busy.”

As well as the big dogs, which tend to be German shepherds or a hybrid (Buzz is a German/Belgian shepherd mix), most handlers also have a specialist search dog – usually spaniels.

Sgt Rawson said: “All dogs are good at sniffing things out but obviously it’s difficult to hold a German shepherd at head height. Size-wise, if you have a spaniel they are easier to handle if you’re searching for explosives, drugs or firearms.”

As well as big dog Buzz, Sgt Rawson now has black-and-white springer spaniel Bella, who is seven months old and especially adorable. Is it hard not to treat them like pets and become attached to them?

“As I spend more time with the dogs than the wife, then you do get very attached,” explained Sgt Rawson, whose dogs live with him at home but sleep outside.

“But they are not pets, but service dogs, and you work as a team. Ultimately they are there as a tool to do a job, and will if necessary save the life of their handler or a member of the firearms team. You have to judge the risk against the tactics to do the job, and ultimately if they have to save a life, a dog must do its duty.”

Sgt Rawson has been in the force for 27 years, joining WPD five years ago after working in traffic and firearms divisions. What’s required to be a good dog handler?

“Obviously you have to love animals. Everyone else hangs up their keys or their gun when they go home, but these dogs live with you and they need looking after every day of the year. You also have to have the right mindset – the desire to go and catch bad people.

“The animals are tools, like a Taser or any use of force, so you have to justify its use and have that presence of mind to remain calm in any situation.

“You have to be able to work a dog efficiently and effectively before you deploy it on anybody – they have 42 teeth and will cause damage. Most of the time, just because of the size of the dog’s bark, the subject will perceive the risk and behave themselves.”

Sgt Rawson added: “After 27 years, my ability to catch people on a straight chase has been reduced! To catch a 20-year-old in trainers as I approach 50, it’s easier to have a dog!”

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    June 2, 2021

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    January 8, 2021

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    January 8, 2021

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    January 8, 2021

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    January 7, 2021

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    January 7, 2021

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    January 7, 2021

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more

    Police Dog Attack

    January 7, 2021

    A resolution headed to the Duluth City Council on Monday could put to rest a lawsuit filed by Teri Lynn Ehlers, an employee of the Patch Motel, who was bitten by a Duluth police dog named Oakley. Former Duluth Police Officer Marc Johnson was a registered guest of the Warroad establishment May 28, 2018, when […]

    Read more

    PAWS With A Cause

    January 7, 2021

    Pebble Hill Plantation and the Thomas County Public Library are pleased to announce the upcoming Enlightening Bites program, “PAWS With a Cause,” on Friday, January 8, 2021 at noon in the Flipper Room of the Library. The program is being presented by Jeri Anderson, field representative. Anderson is recently retired from the City of Monticello, […]

    Read more

    Police Canine Team

    January 7, 2021

    Kingston Police revealed in a news release late Wednesday afternoon that they’ve been keeping a four-legged secret for roughly three months. The force announced it added a second canine unit, with the arrival of police service dog Dak this past October. He is working with Const. Jeff Dickson, while police service dog Bask is working […]

    Read more

    More Recent News