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A Chat with Our Furry Crime-fighters
From explosives and drug detection to guard duty and anti-crime operations, the Police K-9 Unit is ready to put its best paw forward. Hear from two K-9 trailing dogs in this exclusive interview!

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Furry crime-fighters of the Police K-9 Unit: Meet Ole (left) and Xion! PHOTOS: Jermaine Ting, Desmond Ang

As we approach the kennel, the enthusiastic barking of the Singapore Police Force’s (SPF) four-legged heroes can be heard. These cute and feisty canines are none other than the trailing dogs of the Police K-9 Unit. I’d heard a lot about them, but never actually met them before. Until now! I had the rare opportunity to sit down with Ole and Xion for an interview, during which I managed to sniff out some of their insights as members of the K-9 Unit.

Thank you for your time. Please introduce yourself. 
Ole:
Hello! I’m Ole, a five-year-old Labrador Retriever, and I’ve been sniffin’ for about three years now!
Xion: I’m Xion. I’m a Labrador Retriever as well, and I’m seven years old. I’ve been in service for five years.

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The highlight of Ole's day: Having fun with his human partner! PHOTO: Jermaine Ting
 
Take us through a typical day for you at work. 
Ole: We start the day with grooming and cleaning, before moving on to training. Next up comes the most important part of the day, having fun with our human partners!
Xion: Of course, we’re always on stand-by for whatever duties come our way, and ready to move out at a moment’s notice. 

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About to take a whiff of the decoy's belongings, Ole is ready to trace its scent! PHOTO: Jermaine Ting

Can you tell me more about your training?
Xion: We do trailing exercises along a 400m stretch. Our human partners will also stimulate real-life scenarios for us by sending out decoys. We take a whiff of the decoy’s belongings and –   
Ole: – Off we go to trace the decoy’s location! It’s pretty ruff. We do get our reward after training though – the ball! 

What challenges do you face in your work as trailing dogs?
Ole:
We get distracted when the members of the public come over to pet us and fawn over how cute we are. Un-fur-tunately, this can hinder us when we’re working.
Xion: Another challenge is the humid weather in Singapore, which causes the scent left by suspects to diminish faster. We also get tired too, due to the heat. 

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Xion with his eyes on the ball. PHOTO: Jermaine Ting

What are some of the cases you’ve helped to crack?
Ole: There was one case in January 2019 where a suspect had hidden in many different places at a housing estate, leaving his scent everywhere. Thanks to my strong sense of smell, I managed to pick up a definite trace of him. Along with my human partner, I eventually nosed my way to a block of flats at Senja Road, where the subject was spotted and arrested for abusing drugs. I almost went mutts sniffing for him! 

What do you love most about your work as K-9 trailing dogs?
Ole: Taking a bite out of crime, of course! But I also like playtime and rewards. I work hard for the ball! 
Xion: Same here. I also appreciate the care and affection of our human partners. 

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K-9 dogs work with a range of SPF units and Home Team Departments to fight crime. PHOTO: Jermaine Ting

What happens when you retire as trailing dogs?
Xion: We usually retire at the age of seven. Members of the public can now adopt us under Project ADORE, and offer us good homes. :)

Last but not least, are you a good boy?
Ole and Xion: Woof! 


About the Police K-9 Unit
The Police K-9 Unit has dogs trained specifically for explosive detection, drug detection, guard duty and anti-crime operations. Besides supporting the Police Tactical Unit in public order operations, the dogs also assist the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority, Central Narcotics Bureau and Singapore Prison Service in their operations at checkpoints, ferry terminals, airports and penal institutions.

  1. by Jermaine Ting
  2. 11 April 2019
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