YOU might just say that policing has gone to the dogs in Sussex.
In young Rio’s case there is a reason for that – he is a detection dog, trained to sniff out firearms, cash and illicit substances.
One-year-old Rio, a crossbreed ‘spointer’ (a pointer and spaniel mix), has been working for Sussex Police since July, following an intensive six-week training course at a centre in Guildford run by Surrey Police.
Just last week Rio, who lives at home with handler Kelly Kennedy and is based in Worthing, assisted his (human) colleagues with three Littlehampton drug raids all in the space of one busy morning – and was rewarded generously with his favourite treats: tennis balls.
Kelly, who joins Rio on all his jobs, describes the pup as ‘manic’ and full of personality.
She says: “He is a very energetic little dog and everyone knows when he enters the room.”
On average the career length for a police dog is about seven years, making Rio a real new boy.
The young canine cop works like a dog six days a week and is put into shape by fellow police hound Tenko, a three-year-old German shepherd who also lives with Kelly and is trained in tracking, searching and detaining people.
Tenko is mostly tolerant of Rio’s playfulness but she is also unafraid of showing the bouncy pup who is boss with a little jokey pawing.
The two dogs, supervised by Kelly, join each other on all their policing jobs.
Kelly says that Rio’s energy makes him very well suited to a job in policing.
“He completely loves it. He definitely couldn’t be a stay-at-home dog.”
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