THE National Police in the Balearic Islands are beefing up their canine agents, so that in May the number of sniffer dogs that they have working for them will increase from three to eight. Six of these will be specially trained to sniff out explosives, one will be in charge of discovering drugs and the other will be a rescue dog, said the deputy inspector Agustín Capilla yesterday. The sniffer dog division in the National Police force was formed in January, with two German shepherd dogs and one golden retriever. These three specially trained dogs will be joined by another five dogs in the near future, all German shepherds and who will have all been trained in Madrid. Along with these highly intelligent dogs, the unit will have seven officers who will be responsible for training and looking after the dogs.
This division will be able to train in a facility that has been constructed in the General Aviation zone at Palma Airport.
The facility comprises an office, ten dog kennels and a training ground. Ramon Socias, the central government representative, who is responsible for the police force, yesterday visited this area, and he was accompanied by the Chief of Police, Eduardo Pérez Extremera and the Manager of the Son Sant Joan airport, Dionisio Canomanuel. In the future this police division will recruit two more handlers, said Socías, who added that amongst the other responsibilities that the unit will have will be to reinforce the protection and security around the Spanish Royal Family who spend their holidays in Majorca. The National Police in the Balearic Islands also received additional resources two weeks ago, 21 camouflage vehicles which are being used for police surveillance and observation in Palma. Socias said that his office and Palma City Council will be working together to pick up and train abandoned dogs on the islands who fit the bill to become a potential sniffer dog for the National Police. The first three animals who joined the canine police group came to Palma on 16 January and are being looked after by two handlers.
When they have all adapted to their new roles, Gandalf, the golden retriever who is nine years old, will be responsible for rescue missions.
Dino, a German shepherd who is six years old, will be in charge of sniffing out bombs. Finally the bitch Linda, another German shepherd who is the oldest of the group at ten years old, has been trained to sniff out drugs.