Two Corrections Drug Dog Teams have achieved a podium finish at the National Dog Championship held this week in Wellington.
Rimutaka Prison Drug Dog Handler Peter Dalrymple-Mortleman and his dog Diesel, in their first year at the championship, got pipped at the post into second place after a strong showing throughout the 3-day competition.
“We missed first by a fraction,” says Peter, “Each team starts with 600 points and deductions are made for errors during the test scenarios. There are hundreds of different ways to have points deducted and we only finished second by 19.”
Third place was taken out by the other Corrections team, Northland Region Corrections Facility Drug Dog Handler Chris Petropoulos and his dog Roxy, also at their first championship appearance.
Acting General Manager Prison Services Brendan Anstiss says this is a fantastic result for the two Corrections teams and shows how valuable an asset their skills are to the Department.
“Our drug dog teams do a significant job in stopping contraband entering our prisons and this result is one way that their skill and talent can be recognised outside of the prison wire.”
Chris explains the final result all came down to the last challenge.
“It was the hardest of all the exercises and any one of the top three could have taken it out.”
Each challenge faced by the drug dog teams was designed to duplicate scenarios they would face on the job. These included searches of vehicles and people as well as a blank search where there was nothing to find.
“One of the challenges was a house search with 10 people inside. This was to test how we could handle those dynamics and control the situation – both Chris and I got top marks for this one,” says Peter.
Time limits were imposed for each challenge as well, but the pressure isn’t solely on the drug dog and their ability to sniff out the narcotics; judgement is also passed on how well the handler gives commands.
Chris says a lot of the competition is based on how well the handler reads their dog and how well they work together as a team under pressure.
Notes to reporter:
- Diesel is a 4.5 year old black Labrador who has been a Corrections Drug Dog working with handler Peter Dalrymple-Mortleman for 3 years.
- Roxy is a 3 year old collective cross, working as a team with handler Chris Petropoulos for 21 months.
- The National Dog Championships were held from Monday 3 May – Thursday 6 May – Corrections teams participated in the Narcotics section along with teams from New Zealand Police and Customs.
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