A Day In The Life Of… A Police Dog & Handler
We recently caught up with Police Constable Dan Haile, who is part of the Special Ops Unit based at Melton Police Station, Humberside Police. Dan has been a police officer for 17 years and has worked in two police forces during that time. PC Haile is a licensed dog handler and has two working dogs.
The first of PC Haile’s working dogs is PD Kodi.
Kodi is a Belgium Malinois (Belgium Shepherd Dog) and he is 18 months old and is a fully licensed General Police Dog. His role is as follows;
- Tracking suspects
- Chasing and detaining suspects
- Searching buildings for suspects or property
- Finding missing people
- Dealing with violent suspects
- Public order situation
- And mostly as part of the force firearms team as a less than lethal tactical option in dealing with gun crime
The second of PC Haile’s working dogs is PD Reggie, who is a 5 year old English springer spaniel who is trained and licensed as a Drugs, Cash, and Firearms detection dog.
The Buddies team came up with some questions for PC Haile his PD’s Kodi and Reggie.
What does an average day entail?
‘The police dogs live with the dog handlers at home. The police dogs are looked after at all times by the dog handlers unless they go on holiday for instance, in which case they go into police kennels. The police dogs are kennelled at home and don’t really spend too much time indoors. Apart from that they are treated the same as pets. They are played with, given treats, taken on long walks and are part of the family. ‘
‘A working day would consist of getting the dogs exercised, groomed and fed prior to leaving for work and generally checking the dogs to make sure they are in a fit and healthy condition to work.’
‘We then safely transport the police dogs to the dog section base and collect a police car specifically designed for the dogs. These vehicles are large estate type cars, fully marked with blue lights and sirens. They have cages built into the rear and have air conditioning going into them. We carry water, first aid kits and all the equipment we need to work the dogs and all of this needs checking every day to make sure it is safe.’
‘We then patrol our force area or complete intelligence led tasks in order to prevent or detect crime. Typically this could be patrolling areas that are experiencing high volumes of crime or anti-social behaviour in an attempt to stop it. We also respond to 999 calls which require the assistance of the dogs. We provide support to the firearms units, local patrols and public order units. We provide dog support at football matches and other sporting events that warrant it.’
‘During a shift the dogs need to be exercised on a regular basis and have a drink from time to time. I normally do this every couple of hours for a short period of time to let them stretch their legs and go to the toilet.’
‘At the end of a shift I have to go back to the base, put the dogs in my own vehicle and clean the police vehicle. The cages are cleaned with disinfectant; the cab of the vehicles hoovered, the fuel topped up and the outside of the vehicle is washed. ‘
‘You then hand over to the next shift coming on duty and you go home.’
‘For a dog handler you obviously take the dog home with you. So in reverse of what you did at the start of your shift you exercise the dog, feed them, check they are fit and well and then you can relax until the next dog walk. ‘
What’s the best bit about the job?
‘The best bit about the job for me is that I get to work with my dog’s every day. I love my dogs and it is a privilege to work with and train with them. We train our dogs during an initial course and after that we have to maintain the standard of the dog throughout its career. The sense of achievement in training them and then when they actually start getting good results on the street is one of the best feelings in the world for a dog handler. We love helping / protecting people and preventing criminals from committing crime.’
What’s the worst bit about the job?
‘The worst bit about the job is having to put the dog into situations that expose them to risk. The dogs are trained to detain people but you still don’t want anything to happen to the dog and that is a very hard part of the job.’
Any tips for those looking for a career as a police dog handler?
‘I would say to anyone wanting to become a dog handler, you need to want to be a police officer. That is what we are first, police officers. If you love the job and love catching people and helping others then you are half way there.’
‘Dog Section is a specialism but you need to be a very competent police officer first with plenty of experience in all aspects of the job. You need to be happy working outside a lot and being exposed to the elements. You obviously need to like dogs but that goes without saying.’
‘Study hard in school and stay out of trouble, maybe join the police cadets if you are too young to join the police force at this time. And when you do get in to the police make it known that you want to specialise and try to get attachments with that unit as it really helps.’
A huge thank you to Police Constable Dan Haile, and the wider team at Humberside Police, for taking the time to chat to us.