Police Dog Leo, right, is taking over from Police Dog Tyson, left, who is to retire
Police Dog Leo in the back of PC Dave Bridge's police car
PC Dave Bridge accompanied Police Dog Leo in a National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter
Police Dog Leo on his first operational shift
PC Dave Bridge and his wife Sam with Police Dog Leo when he was a nine-week-old-puppy
Congratulations to Police Dog Leo who has just successfully finished his first operational shift after graduating from training school.
His handler, PC Dave Bridge says Leo’s first patrol in south Essex around Basildon, Benfleet and Canvey Island went very well.
“We met lots of people and I also made sure he was exposed to different experiences while we were out on patrol, to continue getting him used to crowds and noise, which includes the sound of my car’s siren. “Leo is a German shepherd and so is perfect for becoming a general purpose police dog and has been trained not only to track suspects but to assist in searches for missing people and to find evidence, such as weapons used in assaults, and stolen property."
Dave’s wife Sam is one of our puppy walkers and so Dave has known Leo since he was just eight weeks old.
Before Leo began his formal training, Sam made sure he got a good grounding in basic skills which will serve him well during his career with us. She trained him to respond to basic commands and took him into offices and public spaces to get him used to being around people and different environments.
Leo is now 18 months old and has just graduated from his 13-week basic training course at our Dog Unit in Sandon.
Dave, who has been a dog handler for 14 years, says:
“Leo has had to learn to track suspects and property and to search for missing people as well as conducting searches of buildings and property, such as bags, bedding and cupboards. And, of course, he’s been taught how to help me detain suspects he has tracked down. He’s even got to ride in the police helicopter. “But he’s risen brilliantly to all the challenges put to him in training and now I’m looking forward to working with him, helping to keep Essex safe and catching criminals.”
Although theirs is a working relationship, Dave says Leo has become part of the family and has become great friends with his other working police dog, Ralph, a springer spaniel, who is a drugs, money and weapons recovery dog. Dave has been working with Ralph for the past four years.
“Leo will be taking over from Police Dog Tyson who will now retire as he’s eight-and-a-half. He will be staying with us through his retirement and live out his life as our family pet.”
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