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New detector dog ‘Flame’ has moved to Samoa

Pictured L–R standing: New Zealand Police Sergeant Al Campbell, Samoa Police Commissioner Egon Keil, NZ High Commissioner in Samoa HE David Nicholson, Samoa Police K9 Unit officer in charge Senior Sergeant Tavete Tusani. Kneeling: Constable Mozart Milo and Flame. [photo: New Zealand High Commission, Samoa]
Source: NZ Govt Police media release

‘Flame’ the black Labrador arrived in her new home Samoa on October 18th and has this week begun her new role as a Pacific Detector Dog.

The Pacific Detector Dog Programme (PDDP), managed by the Police Dog Section and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has been running for 10 years and supplies and trains dogs and handlers for Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands and Fiji.

Police Sergeant Al Campbell arrived in Samoa last week to deliver Flame and get her final training completed in order to start her new role as an operational drug dog. Once Flame gains some experience she will also be trained to find firearms.

She will be replacing one of the current drug dogs ‘Boss’ who is retiring after providing outstanding service to Samoa Police and the Samoa Customs K9 Unit since 2010. Boss will be retired to a home in Samoa.

Inspector Todd Southall, National Coordinator: Police Dogs, says Flame, a female Labrador and the fifth dog from the PDDP programme to go to Samoa, is full of energy and has performed well throughout her training in New Zealand.

“She will be assigned to Police Constable Mozart Kueva Milo who underwent certification with Flame last week under the guidance of Sergeant Campbell.”

NZ Police Dog Training Centre staff visit the Pacific countries involved in the PDDP three times per year to undertake maintenance and certification training with the dog teams in all environments.

The standards expected of the Pacific teams is no different to that of NZ detector dogs. Dog Training Centre staff also work to educate and train other staff in the Pacific who work alongside the drug dogs.

Inspector Todd Southall says NZ Customs are also working with NZ Police in a joint partnership to ensure the dog teams are getting the best training available.

“Customs have been invaluable around border control and intelligence training as well as assisting with dog training.

“We really value this partnership and are proud of the fantastic work we are doing to help our Pacific neighbours in this area.

“It is about helping protect our neighbours. The Asia-Pacific is us and if we are protecting their borders, we are protecting our borders.”