Te Whanganui a Tara – Waikato is the home of the new national police patrol dog champion team of constable Scott Gosnell and his dog Apex.
In a near clean sweep, the pair have won the Frank Riley Cup for highest overall marks, the William Rose Bowl for criminal work disciplines, the Commissioner’s Challenge Cup for highest marks in obedience and the Monaghan Trophy for highest marks in heelwork.
Inspector Todd Southall, national coordinator of police dogs, says constable Scott Gosnell and Apex’s success is impressive against intensive competition from 10 other patrol dog handlers.
“They’ve stood out in a tough field, demonstrating the same sort of high performing aptitude and success they show when working operationally in the Waikato.”
Constable Gosnell says he is surprised and pleased with the haul of silverware.
“We had our ups and downs but you never take anything for granted. I’ve had Apex since he was eight weeks old and our success is all due to the help and support from my Waikato colleagues.”
Constable Aaron Senior and Nour from Blenheim won the Colin Guppy Trophy for tracking in the Patrol Dog Championship.
He’s competed previously for Canterbury until transferring to Tasman and was rapt to win the tracking.
“A great result as we only got called up for the nationals on Friday as replacement for another team who were injured.”
Police were first and second in the narcotic detector dog category, with Auckland’s senior constable Chris Harris and Floyd winning the Alan Symes Cup.
They’re no strangers to the title having previously won it in 2018 and the Australasian title the same year before finishing runners-up in 2019 when the championships were last held.
Northland’s Senior Constable Patrick Derbyshire and Ripper were second.
Also competing in this category were two teams from Corrections and two from Customs.
Aviation security officer Amon Nepe from Queenstown won the Aviation Security Shield for the most outstanding team in the explosives detector dog category.
He was competing against another AVSEC colleague and two teams from NZ Defence Force.
Inspector Southall says this is the 49th year of competition but covid lockdowns and operational requirements forced a postponement in the past two years.
“All the tasks and test activities are based on the real-life skills and decisions that handlers and their dogs must make when they are responding day and night to a variety of incidents.
“Dog teams do a fantastic job in helping keep our communities safe. They provide a critical frontline response, detection and prevention capability.
“It’s really exciting to see the blend of youth and experience we’ve seen in the past few days.
It bodes well for the ongoing development of dog section capability across all services.”
Photo: Constable Scott Gosnell and his dog Apex