Six awards for city’s top K9s

2016-12-07 09:53
(From left) Colonel Brian Oberholzer, Warrant Officer Imraan Shaik and Sergeant Shaun Wood (background) with Constable Earl Ward, his dog Fudge and Constable Thilo Zaca.

(From left) Colonel Brian Oberholzer, Warrant Officer Imraan Shaik and Sergeant Shaun Wood (background) with Constable Earl Ward, his dog Fudge and Constable Thilo Zaca. (Amil Umraw)

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A handful of the city’s most dedicated K9 police officers were recently rewarded for their outstanding work alongside their four-legged partners.

The Pietermaritzburg branch, which was once again hailed as the best performing K9 unit in Kwa­Zulu-Natal, celebrated the successes of six of their officers who scooped trophies at the station’s awards ceremony last week.

The officers were selected for their performance, as well as the performance of their dogs, during the course of the year.

Speaking to The Witness on Tuesday, unit commander Colonel Brian Oberholzer said each officer contributed to the success of the unit at provincial level. He explained that floating trophies, which are named after “legends in the K9 unit that were killed in the line of duty”, are awarded to recipients in six different categories.

The most esteemed category, the Cecil Stone trophy for the most arrests with the assistance of a dog, was claimed by Constable Earl Ward, who clinched it away from veteran officer Captain Reno Dayaram.

Ward, who has been with the unit for four years, also claimed the trophy for best dog handler through his work with four-legged officer Fudge.

Ward said scooping two awards was “overwhelming” as he had dreamed of being a police dog handler since he was a child. Ward estimated that both he and Fudge have tackled more than 20 criminals this year alone.

The Wessels floating trophy for the best working dog went to Sergeant Shaun Wood and his dog, Fisher.

Fisher and Fudge, who are both German Shepherds, are trained as patrol and explosives experts.

Wood said he has been partnered with Fisher for two years and gave credit to the trainers and instructors for the role they played in training Fisher.

For the best drug dog, the Paul Stone trophy was handed to Constable Thilo Zaca, who said the award has kept her motivated.

“I think my dog and I have a very good working relationship and we have been working together for four years,” she said.

Averaging at about 15 arrests per month, Warrant Officer Imraan Shaik, who is also a member of the Combined Action Team, got the award for the most consistent and highest arrests.

Shaik, who is a veteran officer, and would also not say how many years he has been in the police in a bid not to give away his age, said in one month this year he made 25 arrests.

Shaik recalled his experiences of being instrumental in the arrest of the guidance counsellor charged for the rape and sexual assault of pupils at a Pietermaritzburg primary school as well as the bust on Ian Williams and his alleged gang.

Sergeant Sean Noordman won the award for best explosives dog handler.

Read more on:    saps  |  pietermaritzburg  |  good cops

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