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Canines to help sniff out danger at countdown

This article is more than 12 months old

The New Year's Eve countdown will see two dashing special task force agents originally from the US patrolling the Marina Bay area.

They are Dobby and Joy, labrador retrievers from the K-9 Guardians unit run by security company Aetos that are trained to sniff out explosives.

This will be the first time a K-9 unit from the auxiliary police will participate in a national event amid heightened security measures.

Two teams of handlers with their dogs will be deployed at strategic areas around the Marina Bay area today, for four-hour shifts at a time.

"We will be deploying the dogs as a show of deterrence to any threats and situations that may occur," said Inspector (Auxiliary Police Force) Chua Yue Zhen, master trainer and officer-in-charge of the Aetos K-9 unit.

The dogs will have to learn to deal with the heat and get through potentially crowded areas.

"This will be good exposure for the dogs," said Insp Chua.

Dobby, Joy and their teammate Oxley are all labrador retrievers that are just under two years old.

TRAINING

After a rigorous three-month training programme, they can now detect a variety of explosive substances with ease.

Dobby displayed those skills in a demonstration at the Aetos K-9 unit headquarters by sniffing out a small container of mock-up explosives hidden in an air-locked compartment on a van within a minute.

"We have always placed great importance on the operational readiness of our officers, and now on our canine colleagues as well, to ensure safety and security during major events like the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown this year," said Deputy Assistant Commissioner (Auxiliary Police Force) Tan Chong Hee, commander of the Aetos Auxiliary Police Force.

Dobby and Joy currently reside at their K-9 unit at 21 Cosford Road.

Aetos intends to bring in more K-9 dogs eventually, as the kennels can house around 30 canines.

Members of the public are advised not to approach Dobby and Joy to pet them while they are on duty today.

COURT & CRIME