AFP Canine Handler Takes Swing At Softball World Cup

The AFP will be cheering on one of its own at the 2024 Women's Softball World Cup, with canine handler and athlete Senior Constable Jade Wall set to represent Australia in Italy this month.

Senior Constable Wall, who made her Olympic debut at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, will be competing at the Softball World Cup in Castions di Strada, Italy, from 15 to 21 July, 2024.

The Aussie Spirit were successful in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) World Cup Group Stage qualifier last year in Ireland, which saw them compete against countries such as the United States, Great Britain and Botswana.

Growing up in Queensland, Senior Constable Wall started playing softball at the age of nine after her cousin joined the local team, Cheetahs. From there, she rose through the ranks, eventually being selected to tour with the Australian team in 2009 for the Canada Cup and the United States World Cup.

She joined the AFP in 2015 as a police officer after completing tertiary studies and was posted to Sydney. Senior Constable Wall spent four years working at Sydney Airport before undertaking positions in the Transnational Serious Organised Crime area and the National Operations State Service Centre.

After the Tokyo Olympics, Senior Constable Wall joined the Canine Team in Sydney and was paired with two Labradors; Swaino, an explosive detection dog, and Phantom, a cash and narcotics detection dog. The trio spend most of their time at the airport protecting Australians and attending search warrants around the country.

Senior Constable Wall said her career with the AFP had enabled her to fulfil both her dreams of becoming a police officer and a professional athlete.

"I always wanted to work in emergency services and help people, however I didn't know what a career in that space would look like," Senior Constable Wall said.

"Both dogs amaze me every day with their high attention to detail and intelligence, and working with them has been a highlight in my career.

"Swaino and I have been together for three years and went through the canine training course together. To see him and Phantom progress through the stages of the development is so rewarding."

Senior Constable Wall is also an accredited rapid appraisal officer, which means she is capable of assessing the possible presence of hazardous items using x-ray equipment, and conducting and coordinating low risk bomb search activities for buildings, vehicles and aircraft.

Senior Constable Wall said she was grateful for the support the AFP and the Canine Team had provided her over the years, while training for and representing Australia at sporting events.

"For the World Cup, I'll be taking some time off work to compete. To have this flexibility is invaluable and something I don't take for granted," she said.

"Softball is not a funded sport and players must pay their own levies. The AFP National Sports Federation, an internal association that encourages and financially supports members to play sports, and my team have continually assisted me however they can."

Fortunately for Senior Constable Wall, her hopes of an Olympic medal are not over; softball will be included in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

"My goal is to make it Los Angeles - I still get so much enjoyment from this game and every chance I get to wear the green and gold is an opportunity for me to represent my country to the best of my ability."

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