New Dog Operations capability, South Australia

South Australia Police have had long term outstanding success with the diverse use of their various breeds of police dogs across a range of operational situations. This includes missing person searches; crowd response functions; tracking suspects; and detecting drugs, firearms and explosives.

It is with great pride and excitement that the South Australia Police announce a new expansion to their kennel by introducing three new Police Dog (PD) recruits. These dogs have been purposely targeted to bring a whole new range of dog operational capabilities known as the ‘small area urban search and guided evacuation’ dogs.

PDs Tex, Snoop and Gracie are pure bred Dachshunds small in stature but absolutely courageous in nature having similar traits as those of a terrier. It is well known that the Dachshund’s perception of smell is about forty times more efficient than that of a human. They were originally bred to hunt badgers and their high level of intelligence and power of scent make them perfect for hunting just about anything.

There are several main uses for the new PDs. Primarily they can access small or restricted areas where the traditional 40 kilogram German Shepherds and Labradors cannot.

We are seeing criminals trying to use more stealth in where they try to hide contraband in hard to access small areas requiring police to spend significant recourses removing or shifting heavy items; secreting themselves when being pursued by police – particularly on roof tops or in ceilings; and hiding suspicious items under lowered motor vehicles.

This new initiative is to introduce light weight, highly trained and determined PDs who can bring a whole new capability to searching commensurate with those criminals who will stop at nothing to prevent police locating illegal items or criminals themselves.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens has described this latest innovation as a big step forward in thinking outside the square to place police on an equal footing with criminals.

“I must admit I was a little sceptical when I was first approached to consider this initiative but then when I saw the actual capabilities of these new recruits I was absolutely sold. What incredible animals with amazing skills and determination for such a small dog.’

Commissioner Stevens further went onto say, “I did not realise how difficult it was for our police dog handlers trying to get a 40 kilogram police dog into a ceiling or over a fence whilst chasing or trying locate high risk offenders. Seeing how easily this is now done with the Dachshunds is quite staggering. I am fully supportive of this new concept.”

In a further potential use of the new PDs, police have been working closely with specialist vets and dog trainers to ascertain if the light weight dogs could be transported safely by drones and released into hard to access areas where at the moment the larger PDs just simply cannot get in due to their size. The use of these new PDs in non-traditional situations is endless.

“The capabilities of these dogs is simply amazing which I would have never thought possible. This includes accessing under low cupboards, beds and other furniture; checking for explosives under vehicles or structures; and being able to fly into traditionally no go areas and released safely without any harm to the dog,” Commissioner Stevens said.

What is also of great benefit to SAPOL is that by having this type of PD creates cost efficiencies. Up to three; potentially more, PD Dachshunds can be easily housed with the one dog handler and they can all travel safely in the one dog patrol fleet.

A short video will be published today so that members of the public can see for themselves the capabilities of these new recruits. If you go to SAPOL – Home ( you will be able to see the story there. Will keep you posted on the up-coming graduation of the three new recruits.

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