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Source: New Zealand Police (National News)

A trio of new Police dog teams graduated as operational today – ready to help patrol and protect their communities in Bay of Plenty, Canterbury and Southland.

They are Constable Tyson Ripia and patrol dog Preston (3) from Rotorua; Constable Tim Yaxley and Lux (20 months) from Christchurch and Constable Damian Parsons and Ged (2) from Invercargill.

Woofs from the dogs and applause from family, friends and colleagues including Assistant Commissioner Mike Rusbatch, Security and International, acknowledged the new teams as they marched off the graduation parade at the New Zealand Police Dog Training Centre at Trentham. 

The ceremony marked the completion of months of training in their home cities mixed with block courses at the dog training centre.

The three handlers have frontline policing backgrounds but from next week they and their dogs log on for the first time as ‘delta’ or dog section units.

Inspector Todd Southall, National Coordinator of Police Dogs, praised the handlers for their achievements.  

“It’s a proud day for you and those who have supported you,” he said.  “A lot of people don’t understand the commitment, the work, frustrations, the highs and the lows and the rewards which goes into becoming an operational team.

“The motivation, dedication and calibre of new officers coming through is really heartening for the future of dog section.”

Constable Tyson Ripia says he and Preston can’t wait to start work.  “It’s been a long but worthwhile journey to become a dog handler.  It’s like learning a new trade with the challenges that go with it as you learn to read your dog.

“The help and support from colleagues has been huge.”

Constable Tim Yaxley spent three years policing in Invercargill but moved to Christchurch earlier this year to pursue his dog section dream.  “It’s awesome to qualify with Lux.  She’s got a great nature, is focused and very keen to please. 

“We’ve had some ups and downs to get to this point but I’m thankful for the opportunities and support from Invercargill and Christchurch dog section colleagues.”

Constable Damian Parsons policed in Counties Manukau for five years before shifting four years ago to Invercargill. He and Ged and have been training together all year and are looking forward to their new role. 

“I’ve really lucked in with Ged as my first operational dog. He’s responsive, loves to work and all he wants to do is please.  I’ve had great help from colleagues and I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.”


Issued by the Police Media Centre

PHOTO CAPTION: New police dog teams are (from left):  Constables Tyson Ripia and Preston (Rotorua); Tim Yaxley and Lux (Christchurch) and Damian Parsons and Ged (Invercargill).