COLE BAY–They are a pack of the cutest dogs you have ever seen. Their shiny coats, doggy smiles and furry paws lure you into, what you soon realise is, the very false notion they are toy dogs.
Meet Oscar the Belgian Shephard, Nora the Dutch Partridge Hound, Springer Spaniels Jones and Missy and Cocker Spaniel Ronny. They are anything but ordinary. They are the core of the country’s newest line of defence against crime and criminals: the K-9 Brigade.
The Brigade made its debut on Friday at the opening of the Forensic Lab and Shooting Range in the old Soremar Building in Cole Bay. This is the location where the evidence these highly trained, intelligent dogs recover will be stored and analysed to aid Police in cracking cases and nabbing criminals.
The K-9 officers’ arrival at the event was greeted with exclamations about their adorable looks. They were soon greeted with some level of awe when they showed their skills. The smaller dogs did encounter some difficulties in their tasks due to extreme afternoon heat. Several have recently arrived from the Netherlands and are still getting accustomed to the humid climate.
The smaller dogs are still undergoing training and are expected to receive their certification next month.
Each dog officer along with their human partner (handler) demonstrated their skills for officials, including Governor Eugene Holiday, Members of Parliament and Ministers. Ronny, for instance, has a nose for technology and is trained to find mobile phones, even if it’s stashed in the smallest of spaces. He is partnered with Prison Officer Hermaine Maduro.
Ecstasy smugglers should beware of Nora and Sergeant Reckets Moesliken. Nora can sniff out even traces of the illicit drug. Knowing Nora’s sweet look may tempt people into attempting to pet her, she has a harness that boldly states “Do Not Pet.”
Major Igmar Woodley and Missy are trained to seek out marijuana.
Cocaine is the product that Jones and Corporal Jeandaline Martina look for. Martina is the only woman in the K-9 team and is the country’s first ever woman dog handler.
Oscar’s agility and strength were displayed when he joined the Brigade’s human officers to demonstrate taking down an aggressive armed “suspect.” Oscar first tackled the suspect on flat ground. In a second display, he rapidly scaled up a parked car to bring down the suspect who was standing on top yelling at the police and not heeding their call to drop his weapon and surrender.
All the smaller breed dogs are trained sniffers while Oscar, the large, fierce Belgian Shephard, partnered with Major John Boyrard, is a surveillance dog. Two more sniffer dogs are expected to join the K-9 Brigade in the future.
The Brigade’s establishment was supported by the justice officials of Curaçao and Aruba. The latter Dutch Caribbean country is such as close partner that the K-9 officers from St. Maarten and Aruba can assist each other. Aruba’s main dog handler/trainer helped Police to select the right dogs in the Netherlands for St. Maarten.
Justice Minister Edson Kirindongo thanked the Aruba Government for its outstanding cooperation. That country continued to pay the salary of the trainer/handler while he was on the project for St. Maarten, saving the local government more expenses.
Source: Daily Herald
Country gets its first K-9 Brigade