Three new four-legged recruits join Leicestershire Police pack
Three new crime-fighting canines are hitting the streets of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
Police Dog (PD) Echo, Izzy and Reggie are now fully-fledged general-purpose police dogs after recently passing an intense 13-week training programme.
Working alongside their handlers – who have a total of more than 30 years’ experience in policing – the two-year-old German Shepherds will be deployed to incidents to help track offenders, locate evidence, find missing people and protect officers in potentially dangerous situations.
The three new recruits were specially selected by one of the force’s most experienced dog trainers, Leigh Emerson.
Leigh has been instrumental in helping to prepare the new policing partners for operational duty and during the past week the pairs have started to put their training to use while out on their first shifts.
In particular, PD Echo’s skills have already led to a vital piece of evidence being discovered – helping officers to be able to charge a man for a serious offence.
“I am extremely proud of the work all three of the dogs and their handlers have put in over the past few months,” said Leigh.
“Each of the dogs has shown they have a strong temperament and good sociability – key attributes needed for a police dog – as well as a love to chase a ball!
“It’s fantastic to see them now ready for duty and I hope they have many years of service ahead of them.”
As well as joining the police family, the dogs each recently joined another new family.
When not on shift police dogs also live with their handler, who is responsible for their care and continual training – helping to further cement the bond between the two.
For PC Aran Gibbs, PD Izzy’s handler, this commitment is part of a role he has set his sights on since joining the force more than 16 years ago.
He said: “I joined the police to become a dog handler and I am proud my determination has been worth it. Getting to work and play with Izzy is the best job in the world. We have created such a tight bond already and this is down to the huge amount of time and effort we have spent not only as part of our training but also during evenings and weekends.
“This role is not just a job it is a lifestyle. It brings with it a huge amount of demand and responsibility but also a great sense of reward and love.”
PC Tom Smith, handler for PD Reggie, said: “I have been an officer for five years but it has been a lifelong dream to do this role. Although Reggie has only been with me for about four months it is like I have had him forever. He has such a cheeky and charming character and he’s settled in perfectly at home.
“I feel so privileged to be able to work alongside my four-legged best friend in a role where I get to work across the whole force area.”
PD Echo’s handler added: “Even before joining the force nine years ago I was always fascinated by the sheer skill of a police dog and while working as a response officer I got to witness this first-hand on many occasions – this made me want to become a dog handler even more.
“Although Echo is naturally talented and loves to work, it has taken months of training to get him ready for duty but it has definitely been worth it. I love living and working with him and the bond between us already is so strong.
I am so proud of the skills he has already shown while on shift and I know there will be many more highlights to come.”
Inspector Cara Guest-Moore from the Tactical Dogs and Firearms Unit, added: “Police dogs are an extremely valuable part of our workforce and play such a vital role in helping to protect our communities so it is fantastic we now have three newly licensed dogs on duty.
“I want to congratulate our new duos on passing their training and I look forward to seeing how the partnerships continue to develop and progress.”