MEET Bert and Ernie. 

No there's no squishy Seasame Street schnoz and Big Bird is definitely not coming to play.

It's police dog Bertie and handler Sergeant Sean Baxendell, dubbed the "Bert and Ernie" of the police service. 

Instead of the letters of the alphabet, this dynamic duo have crimes in their sights and Bertie brings a sharp nose that will hopefully help solve hundreds of cases. 

Bertie will be one of three police dogs sworn into the Queensland Police Service today. 

Police dogs Berties, Larry and Prue will be sworn in at the Queensland Police Service Academy at Oxley as Human Remains Detection Specialist (Cadaver) dogs. 

Quite a feat for recruits with four paws. 

The newest doggie recruits to the Queensland Police Service with their handlers.
The newest doggie recruits to the Queensland Police Service with their handlers.

The dogs are trained in searching out human remains using a pseudo-scent - a chemical compound that mimics the scent of the compounds of a decomposing human body.

The training is tailored to the needs for their service - they look at assisting in a homicide, to search and recovery for people missing in bushland or in a natural disaster zone.

Police dogs an invaluable tool 

Since its conception in 2006, the QPS Cadaver Detection Dog Team has become a valuable tool used in assisting to locate recently deceased and historical human remains, and in the event of natural disasters and aircraft crashes.

So unique is their capability that the only other State to have cadaver dogs is New South Wales, which results in regular requests for our team to provide assistance to other police departments throughout Australia.

The dogs have undergone intense specialist training with their handlers and are stationed at the Brisbane Dog Squad where they perform duties throughout the State as Cadaver Detection Police Dog Teams.

The QPS will have 68 General Purpose dogs, 5 Explosive Ordinance Response Team dogs, 11 Drug Detection dogs, and 4 Human Remains Detection (Cadaver) dogs.

Let's meet the dogs: 

Sergeant Sean Baxendell with Police Dog Bertie. Sgt Baxendell has affectionately nicknamed the duo Bert and Ernie.
Sergeant Sean Baxendell with Police Dog Bertie. Sgt Baxendell has affectionately nicknamed the duo Bert and Ernie.

POLICE DOG BERTIE 

He may be the oldest and the smallest of the trio, but Police Dog Bertie brings a lot of experience to the group.

Celebrating his fifth birthday this year, PD Bertie was trained with the NSW Police Force in human remains detection.

He transferred to the QPS where he has been working for two years and successfully completed the QPS Human Remains training.

At times PD Bertie forgets he is a Springer Spaniel and for fun likes to go up and down children's slippery slides and also takes hold of the protective bite sleeve with his German Shepherd brother, PD Quinn, albeit with a smaller bite training arm.

Their handler, Sergeant Sean Baxendell, has affectionately nicknamed the duo Bert and Ernie and says the pair love working and playing together.

Police dog Prue.
Police dog Prue. Megan Mackander

POLICE DOG PRUE

Police dog Prue will turn two this November and has been bred by the QPS. Her father, PD Costa, was a QPS Police Dog and has recently been donated to the NT Police Dog Operations Unit and her mother was a QPS breeding dog Odelle.

PD Prue is one of a number of female working dogs currently serving in the QPS.

PD Prue is the third German Shepherd to join handler Senior Constable Chad McLeod's pack, who also has General Purpose PD Maui and retired General Purpose PD Xero.

Having three German Shepherds makes for an interesting household, with Chad describing PD Prue as having a lot of energy and enjoys playing with her brothers.

The newest doggie recruits to the Queensland Police Service with their handlers.
The newest doggie recruits to the Queensland Police Service with their handlers.

History of the Queensland Police Service dogs 

Queensland was home to one of the earliest known uses of police dogs in Australia, when they were first introduced for an experimental trial in 1912.

The dogs - a pair of Doberman Pinchers affectionately known as 'Fritz' and 'Olga' - remained on active service until 1917, when the trial was discontinued for not meeting expectations.

The idea of police dogs in Queensland would not be raised again until 1972, when the Commissioner re-introduced their use as a measure against rising incidents of school vandalism.

In December of that year, two officers, Charlie Degnan and David Laird, participated in a guard dog training course at the Royal Australian Air Force Base (RAAF) base at Toowoomba.

Their two dogs - 'Lobo' and 'Rolf' - were German Shepherds donated by the RAAF.

The dogs were given the official title of Police Dog (PD) and began patrolling school grounds around Brisbane.

After the training and deployment of the first two dogs proved successful, it was decided that the program should be expanded and the Queensland Police Service (QPS) Dog Squad was established. 



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