The police’s K9 unit in the Cape Metro is an instrumental part of crime fighting in the city. On Wednesday, primary school children from Manenberg on the Cape Flats got up and close with the furry officers as part of the city’s outreach programme.
Just like humans, the furry officers each have a unique ability. The 25 dogs of the Metro Police K9 unit are crime fighters that specialise in different fields of search.
“They play an important role for us because they can do what us as humans can’t do. They can see, or smell, where some guys hide the drugs so they will be able to take it out for us,” says Metro Police K9 Instructor, Constable Randall Huysen.
The dogs are trained to search and find drugs of all kinds. This week, 80 mandrax tablets were found by the K9’s in the open field next to the primary school.
They also detect ammunition, copper cables and are expert trackers when searching for missing people. As officers, they are trained to withstand resistance from suspects when they are caught.
Forty-three arrests were made this year alone by the K9 unit. It was an eye opener for the youngsters to see the dogs in action.
“They have senses that we don’t have and they can help us through many things, like for example if there are suspects that kill people they can also help us find them,” says Grade 4 pupil Rahna Williams.
Another pupil Ziyaad Scott says; “Police said not to be scared of the dogs and said dogs won’t bite you because one day if I get lost, the dog will find me.”
The city has outreach programmes throughout the year, educating children about the work done by metro police.
“We’re taking drugs, firearms and gangsters out of the community that do them harm and that their loyalty and their love must be for the police officers, those are their friends, the gangs are not their friends and we need to try and help them understand that before they get to high school and the gangs start trying to bribe them with shoes and gifts and money,” says City of Cape Town’s JP Smith.
Each dog works until the age of eight when it retires and is put up for adoption.