Gaborone — Christmas came early for the Police Dog Unit in particular the famous police sniffer dog, Boots and her 41 compatriots after President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama donated food hampers and other items to the Canine Unit on December 15.
The donations included Ecco pet food donated by Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), 41 dog jackets sponsored by Lobatse Canvas, and Christmas hampers for 42 officers within the Dog Unit donated by Choppies, the National Strategy Office (NSO) and Government Implementing Coordinating Office (GICO).
Boots, who also goes by the name Julius, was alone presented with a special gift of a bed stretcher for doing an excellent job in the current on-going campaign to uproot illegal drugs in Botswana.
The stretcher from Ms Corea, who is the wife to the Director General of the NSO, Mr Uttum Corea, would now offer Boots the most comfortable, supportive, and cooling sleep experience when she retires from a busy day.
Before the donation, laughter filled the SSG Hall when President Khama and other dignitaries were treated to an amazing demonstration by Bootsand her son, Chase when the two managed to expose dagga and ivory, which were secretly hidden by their handlers, something which left everyone begging for more stunts.
Speaking at the event, Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Mr Shaw Kgathi warned drug dealers to stop their business immediately or face the wrath of the law, more-so that the police have a well capacitated sniffer dog unit.
He said plans were underway to extend the unit to all corners of Botswana, adding that currently, the dogs were deployed everywhere around the country, where their services were needed most.
Mr Kgathi further stated that he recently met with his South African and Swaziland counterparts to discuss the issue of drugs entering Botswana at a high rate as it was evident that some of the drugs came from their countries.
He applauded Crime Intelligence Director at Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Nunu Lesetedi for a job well done in exposing the drugs and further called on Batswana to join forces with Botswana Police Service on a clean-up campaign against the crime.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Keabetswe Makgophe thanked President Khama for his devotion and personal participation in life changing programmes such as poverty eradication, Presidential Housing Appeal and Community Service initiatives.
He explained that police dogs had become an important resource in the detection of crime not only in Botswana, but across the globe. He said although the dog unit was introduced with only two sniffer dogs at the time, today the unit was a fully-fledged unit with a diversified types of sniffer dogs for drugs, narcotics, explosives, tracking and patrol, just to mention a few.
The police chief further explained that in view of the high cost and unavailability of suitable dogs for policing in the local market, Botswana Police Service had now started to breed and train its own dogs.
He said the project was beginning to bear fruits since the police had already produced promising dogs, some of which were off-springs of the famous Boots, adding that the intention was to continue capacitating the unit to meet international standards.
Mr Makgophe requested government for a special dispensation that would allow dog handlers to retain the dogs beyond service life as dogs generally developed a social bond, friendship and trust with owners.
For his part, Mr Corea said the dog unit spearheaded a better future for the younger generation and it was against this backdrop that his office in conjunction with GICO found it fit to dig from their pockets to organise such an event for the unit.
The event, which was held under the theme: A Day With the Botswana Police Canine Unit, was meant to appreciate the good work the unit was doing in fighting drug crimes in the country.
The Unit was established in 1998 with only two drug sniffer dogs that were good at detecting narcotic drugs and explosives, but to-date, the police run a fully-fledged 42-dog regiment with ambitions to extend their services to all corners of the country.
Source : BOPA