Detective Sergeant Vaine Nooroa Ngametua and Constable Ura Teinaki, both highly-trained handlers, have been joined this week by New Zealand Police Senior Sergeant Chris Best.
The training may be a routine exercise for the officers, but is proving to be invaluable exposure to narcotics detection for service dogs Xela and Max. It’s also a chance for them to be rewarded with “play time” after detecting hidden drug packages, with officers using “positive reinforcement”, says Best.
Both dogs are Labradors, Xela has been on the force for nine years, and Max for the past four years. And they are very busy around the island, being used for border control at the airport and port, as well as in postal service checks and police drug operations.
Police media liaison officer Trevor Pitt says three visits from dog handlers take place each year under a New Zealand government programme designed to maintain the highest standards of performance and responsiveness to evolving drug smuggling trends.
The New Zealand Police provide drug detection dogs and training for the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji.
- Chris Taylor/ Release