The Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2020 (MBSC 2020) marks the first time a K-9 unit from an auxiliary police unit has participated in a major national event. The AETOS K-9 team was deployed at strategic areas around Marina Bay, as a show of deterrence to any threat that might arise. We caught up with INSP (APF) Sangeetha, the handler for Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) Joy, to find out more about her experience with the deployment and her career as a K-9 handler in AETOS.
Q: Could you share with us your experience at the recent MBSC 2020 countdown?
It was like I was escorting a celebrity because a lot of event-goers were able to recognize Joy from The Straits Times article and were calling out her name.
On a serious note, this was our first major deployment as a team and I was slightly concerned with how my partner, Joy, will react to the new environment & the large crowd that we were going to face during our duty. However, Joy was able to stay focused and was carrying out her duties confidently. She was not disturbed by her surroundings, and I am really proud of her performance.
For me, it was a memorable experience as I welcomed the New Year with my K-9 partner working alongside me.
Q: How were you selected to become a handler in the AETOS K-9 unit?
I was previously with the Singapore Police Force K-9 Unit for almost 12 years. I have handled both narcotic and explosive detection dogs during my stint with the force and was the champion for the SPF EDD Dog Trial for two consecutive years.
I left the force to become a housewife, but I was still passionate about being part of a uniformed career and not long after, I came out searching for jobs again.
Eventually, I decided to join AETOS and take on the career as an Auxiliary Police Officer. During the interview, they saw that I had much experience in being a K-9 Handler and approached me to be part of the team to set up the new AETOS K-9 unit. Without hesitation, I accepted the offer and never looked back since!
Q: Tell us more about your primary duties as a K-9 Handler.
My primary duty as a K-9 handler is to ensure that my partner and I are always operationally ready. We have to carry out regular training to keep that ‘chemistry’ between us, and I also have to make sure that her performance stays in a tip-top condition.
As a K-9 handler, our dog’s well-being is our priority. I perform daily grooming to ensure that hygiene standards are met, and checks to ensure that she is free from any injuries and illnesses.
For myself, I will have to maintain my fitness standard so that I can train and work in tandem with the dogs, especially when the duty requires covering large areas.
Q: What are some of the important attributes to become a good handler?
I believe a handler should be responsible, confident, and observant. A good handler has to have the ability to work independently and efficiently with their K-9 while keeping their welfare in mind. It is also crucial for a handler to be able to see the behavioral changes that the dogs are displaying, why they are displaying it, and to respond to them accordingly.
Another important attribute is the affinity and capability of working with the dogs. Owning a dog as a pet and working with a dog is completely two different matters, that’s why not everyone can be a K-9 handler. One thing that I always keep in mind is patience. Dogs are just like children - teaching them requires a lot of dedication, time, and effort.
Interested to join us as a K-9 handler? Contact us today!