Cops pay fitting tribute to retiring dog handler

2015-10-29 11:10
Congratulating Warrant Officer Michael Wiid is congratulated on his retirement (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

Congratulating Warrant Officer Michael Wiid is congratulated on his retirement (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Members of the police and other emergency services on Wednesday paid a special tribute to Warrant Officer Michael Wiid in a touching show of support and respect for one of their most valued colleagues.

The veteran policeman was making his way to his base at the Mountain Rise police station from his Hayfields home for his very last night shift after 35 years as a member of the Pietermaritzburg K9 Unit, when to his great surprise he was joined by a colourful cavalcade.

His colleagues had organised an escort to work for the man they described as a hero, role model, a gentleman and an “amazing legend”. They were joined by paramedics and plain clothes detectives in the procession of honour.

Wiid was overcome with emotion and hugged his colleagues in turn as they came to shake his hand after they arrived at Mountain Rise police station. As he thanked them, one officer shouted out, “No, thank you”. He shrugged and simply said, “It’s my work”.

Captain Pierre Grant, the acting commander of the PMB Canine Unit, said it was sad to be losing an officer of Wiid’s calibre. “It’s definitely the end of an era. The police as a whole will miss him a great deal.”

He had served in the police service for 41 years in total.

Another officer said Wiid had a “heart of gold”.

“We love him to bits and will miss him so much. He works as hard as a young guy, and harder than most.”

Wiid’s partner, Joanne Spearman, knows all about his dedication to his work first-hand.

“Even when he was sick, he would go to work because he knew he could make a difference,” she said. “He sacrificed so much to be there always. He really did not want to retire and felt he could have been productive for another two years. I wanted him to have a rest until January, but he is starting a new job on Monday in a similar role.”

Wiid was recently given an award by the SAPS for being the oldest operational dog handler in the country.

Interviewed by The Witness at the time, Wiid said the best motivation for hardworking and often exhausted K9 members was a successful arrest, an action he and his team had performed on many occasions in the city in his years here. Wiid was also involved in a number of animal rescues, including that of a pup that had been stabbed with spears in a ritual sacrifice at Camps Drift.

In November 2012, his unit scooped the prize for the best dog unit in the province.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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