The New Zealand Army was due to publicly graduate five new Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) teams this month at a ceremony in Upper Hutt. Unfortunately due to restrictions on public gatherings as part of the response to COVID-19 the graduation ceremony was cancelled. However, we think it is still important to recognise our new EDD teams and acknowledge the hard work they have done over the past 10 weeks on the course.
The dogs and their handlers are from 1st New Zealand Brigade, 2nd Engineer Regiment, at Linton in Manawatu and the dogs have been trained to identify a number of target odours and search patterns. EDD teams provide a valuable skillset that could be deployed domestically and globally. The dogs are trained to assist with route, vehicle and venue searches as part of the layered approach used by the New Zealand Army to defeat the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
EDDs can identify any suspicious objects faster than traditional ways of searching. This force protection measure reduces the risk to human life. In previous years the Defence Force has deployed dog and handler teams, including to Afghanistan to identify IEDs, during recent Royal visits, and to conduct venue searches during the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. The EDD teams also deploy to a number of defence exercises which ensure the dogs are comfortable working in any kind of location, day or night, in crowded areas or alone.
This 10 week course was the first combined inter-agency course with NZ
Police and Department of Corrections also having EDD teams training.
The New Zealand Army handlers and dogs graduating are:
SPR Phillips and EDD Rita, SPR Burdan and EDD Jack, SPR Mercier and EDD Lucy, SPR Martin and EDD Inky (Inky already graduated in 2018 but SPR Martin is graduating as a new handler), SPR Dinsdale and EDD Pacer (SPR Dinsdale graduated as a handler in 2018 but EDD Pacer is a new graduating dog).