portal_normal EE STRUCTURE orgcat: /PUBLICATIONS/EE-ECHO/NEWS

portal_normal PUBLICATION STRUCTURE cat: /publications/ee-echo/news

portal_normal CATEGORY STRUCTURE category: /PUBLICATIONS/EE-ECHO/NEWS

portal_normal STRUCTURE section: corknews

portal_normal getURLCurrent: /web/eveningecho/corknews/detailedstory?p_p_id=DetailedStory_WAR_portalsuite&p_p_lifecycle=0&_DetailedStory_WAR_portalsuite_arg_detailstory_uuid=349634cc-0314-468f-a510-4f5451abbc4a

portal_normal getPortalURL getURLCurrent: http://www.echolive.ie./web/eveningecho/corknews/detailedstory?p_p_id=DetailedStory_WAR_portalsuite&p_p_lifecycle=0&_DetailedStory_WAR_portalsuite_arg_detailstory_uuid=349634cc-0314-468f-a510-4f5451abbc4a

portal_normal getPortalURL: http://www.echolive.ie

portal_normal domain: http://www.echolive.ie

STRUCTURE EE_062016_general_layout.tpl - url: /corknews/Dogs-a-vital-tool-helping-gardai-to-do-their-job-349634cc-0314-468f-a510-4f5451abbc4a-ds

STRUCTURE EE_062016_general_layout.tpl - section: corknews

STRUCTURE EE_062016_general_layout.tpl - orgcat: orgcat = /PUBLICATIONS/EE-ECHO/NEWS

 Garda Patrick Harrington of the Southern Region Dogs Unit with Laser, at Togher Garda Station.Picture: David Keane.
Garda Patrick Harrington of the Southern Region Dogs Unit with Laser, at Togher Garda Station.Picture: David Keane.
SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Dogs a vital tool helping gardaí to do their job

Garda Pat Harrington is one of two dog handlers working in the Cork Garda Dog Unit which has a varied role in the city and surrounding region.

He has two dogs, a German Shepherd called, Laser, who is trained for general purpose duties such as crowd control, tracking individuals and locating lost or stolen property and a specialist labrador called, Rex, who is trained to find drugs and firearms.

Dogs under his care have found missing persons, firearms, drugs and cash over the past 13 years.

“A number of years ago one of my dogs found €400,000 in an American Pool Table in Aherlow.

“My former drug dog, Snipe, found a quarter-of-a-million euros worth of cocaine that was well hidden.”

The Cork dog handler said that the gardaí have to work very hard to get ahead of the methods used by criminals to hide items and the dogs are a great assistance.

“People are getting very good at concealment. People are getting cuter and cuter and it is great to see the hard work you put in on courses and training days pay off in the real world. Nothing can replicate that feeling.”

 Garda Patrick Harrington carrying out a search in 2013 following an armed robbery in Glounthaune. Picture Dan Linehan

Garda Patrick Harrington carrying out a search in 2013 following an armed robbery in Glounthaune. Picture Dan Linehan

Garda Harrington said he uses a different style of command for the dogs depending on the task at hand.

“If I am searching for a child, the commands are given very softly, but if I am at a situation, where someone has broken into a building and they may possibly be armed, it is a more aggressive command.

“If I go looking for an offender, who could possibly be armed, we’ll go through a routine where I have the dog by the collar and I will be roaring into the building: ‘Garda dog and handler, come out and show yourself or we release the dog’.

“The dog is getting built up as you are shouting very loudly and aggressively to give the man a chance to not get bitten. Then you send him in.”

Garda Harrington described a recent situation where Laser, his German Shepherd, was used to find a man hiding in a derelict factory in Midleton.

“Two fellas broke into the building, Gardaí cordoned off the area and had the building surrounded, they got one fella very quickly but couldn’t find the other fella.

“So I went down, gave the command and sent in the dog and we went into a big massive building, full of rubbish and litter and as soon as the dog walked into the building he hadn’t taken four steps and the man jumped up shouting ‘I give up, I give up’.

“He even said afterwards, when he heard us shouting about having the dog he thought we were lying but when he heard the paws he said there was no way he was going getting bitten.”

Garda Harrington said some dogs can be quite sensitive to his tone and if he gets cross, they may stop working.

 Garda Patrick Harrington of the Southern Region Dogs Unit, at Togher Garda Station.Picture: David Keane.
Garda Patrick Harrington of the Southern Region Dogs Unit, at Togher Garda Station.
Picture: David Keane.
Each dog has a different personality and you need to learn the personality to get the maximum benefit out of the animal. You need to suit your search style to your dog.

For example, I had a previous dog Snipe and if you raised your voice to him he would sit down. So no matter what was happening you still had to speak so nicely to him because if you raised your voice, he would sit down.

“The same with Rex, if you raise your voice to him he won’t like it.” Garda Harrington said he loves working with the dogs and said the dogs also enjoy their job.

“It is all a game to them and I am very lucky that I am in the privileged position that I can play the game with them on a daily basis.”