A Nottinghamshire police officer whose love for dogs attracted him to the Dog Section has made the grade and is now ready to start work.
After months of training, PC Sam Hawker and PD Loki were put through their paces at the force’s Dog Section training ground.
They were asked to complete various exercises and tackle a number of obstacles which tested obedience, their ability to track, and other aspects of the working partnership, which determines how ready they are to be out keeping the streets of Nottinghamshire safe.
The 17-month-old German Shepherd was brought to the force from Poland in February and has been in training with the ex-response officer for the past 12 weeks.
The pair made the grade and officially received their license on Wednesday (5 May 2021).
On licensing, Sam said: “It’s fantastic to finally be at this point and to have our licence now.
“We actually started in September, so it’s been longer than I think any of us anticipated. Unfortunately, I’ve had a couple of dogs that didn’t quite make the mark but then Loki came along in February and we’re now there and ready to get out on the job.
“He’s showing great promise with his nose work, his tracking and his searching, all of which he’ll have to use day-to-day, so it’s brilliant to have licensed a really good dog who will be an asset to the team.
“I’m just really looking forward to getting out on the job with Loki now. The variety of work is going to be fantastic as you never know what you could be called out to help with, and that’s something I really enjoy. It could be anything from tracking a burglar across a field to keeping people safe at football matches.
“Unlike working on response in a specific area, we could get called anywhere in the county. Add that to having Loki by my side throughout, it’s the best of both worlds.”
Before joining the Dog Section, PC Hawker spent three years on response in Nottingham’s city centre, after completing a Criminology degree and being based at Riverside Police Station for four years before that.
Sam’s time on the job has been varied to say the least, attending various incidents from burglaries to crashes, but at home there has been a constant throughout all of this.
“I’m such a huge dog lover, I’ve always had them as pets and had them around, and now being able to work with them for a living is absolutely amazing to me.” he added.
“I’ve got a pet dog myself, Larry the three-year-old Golden Labrador, and I am very much looking forward to introducing him to PD Loki who will be coming home with me each day.
.“I always intended to become a dog handler. The dogs are so intelligent and such an asset, not only to the force but to our home lives as well, and to be a part of that is fantastic.”
Sergeant Jay Lee, of Nottinghamshire Police’s Dog Section, said: “We’re so pleased to see Sam and Loki receive their licence.
“Sam’s experience on response and absolute love for the dogs, I’m sure, will go on to see him have a successful career as a dog handler. The hard work and dedication we’ve seen since he joined in September, with a number of dogs nonetheless, has definitely paid off.
“The fact that we’re continuing to get specially trained officers and dogs up to the required standard and see more duos out on Nottinghamshire’s streets is a positive for both the force and for local communities.
“The dogs do some incredible work supporting all areas of policing, making it a challenging but ultimately fulfilling and important area to be a part of. They are such an asset to local and wider policing, and have skills and abilities that can’t be replicated by man or machine.
“Congratulations to Sam and Loki, and we look forward to seeing some great results in the near future.”