Hawke's Bay Regional Prison has a new string to it’s bow in the fight against drugs in the form of a new drug dog. Springer-Spaniel Mac has recently joined drug dog handler Todd Carpenter and staff at Hawke's Bay Regional Prison.
Graduating recently from a nine-week course run at the Royal New Zealand Police drug dog training centre at Trentham in Wellington, Mac and his handler Mr Carpenter are now officially certified to work as a partnership to detect and stop drugs being smuggled inside New Zealand prisons.
“The new drug dog showed off his expertise on his first day on the job with a cannabis find. A woman was stopped for a random search when entering the prison grounds in her car and Mac was deployed into the vehicle. Mac indicated the presence of drugs, prompting staff to conduct a thorough search of the car. Staff found then found cannabis in the vehicle. The individual was detained, Police were called, and the woman was arrested,” says Hawke's Bay Regional Prison Manager George Massingham.
The visitor was also banned from the prison and has subsequently been charged by Police with Possession of Cannabis and is due to appear in Hastings District Court.
“The majority of the prisoners we manage have long histories of drug use and often pressure their friends, family, and acquaintances to supply them with drugs and contraband. Drugs are common in their social lives and are often linked to their crime. While they are in prison and away from this lifestyle we work to eliminate their dependencies and restrict their access to drugs. We then have a much better chance of reducing their risk of re-offending upon release,” says Mr Massingham.
The partnership between Mac and Todd is a unique one, with only Todd certified to work with Mac.
“We’re a team. It’s a bit like an old detective partnership - it’s about reading your dog. He has days when he’s quieter, or more active, and if for example, he’s in a car and he indicates to you that there’s something in it, you have to be able to recognise that,” says Mr Carpenter.
The majority of Corrections’ Drug Dogs come from the SPCA and Corrections enjoys a strong supportive partnership with the organisation. Mac’s predecessor, Narco, was from the SPCA and spent seven years working before retiring.
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