“It has been a privilege and an honour…” - Retirement celebration for police dog Nala
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Police Dog Nala has hung up her unique Northamptonshire Police collar after retiring from the Force after seven years' dedicated policing service.
It was an emotional farewell for the nine-year-old German Shepherd who received a special guard of honour from her fellow four-legged colleagues at Force Headquarters last week (Wednesday, May 12).
At the event, Nala and her handler, PC Sean Foster, were welcomed to Force Headquarters by Chief Constable Nick Adderley, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold, as well as number of two and four-legged colleagues from the Force’s Dog Section.
After a brief speech by the Chief Constable and a reflection on Nala’s career with the Force by Chief Inspector Sarah-Louise Parrott, of Central Operations, Nala was gifted a personalised dog-friendly celebration cake – which didn’t last long enough to share with her police dog colleagues.
To close her retirement celebration, Nala and PC Foster passed through a guard of honour, cheered on by the Chief Constable and Commissioner, Chief Inspector Sara-Louise Parrott, Sergeant Chris Monday, PCs Lucy Sculthorpe, Ash Price and Steve Thorpe, as well as PDs Socks, Olly, Ebby and Rosie.
Looking back at their career together, PC Foster said: “Working alongside Nala for the past seven years has been an honour and a privilege. She will now spend her days relaxing at home, being showered by affection from my two young daughters who adore her.
“I am currently in the process of licensing with a second police dog, Duke, who with Nala as his teacher, I’m absolutely confident will follow in her paw-steps and achieve some fantastic results for the Force.”
Nala was born on April 15, 2012 as part of a West Midlands Police dog breeding programme, formally joining Northamptonshire Police as a general purpose police dog after successfully completing her initial course licensing alongside PC Foster in February 2014.
In the seven years which have passed since her licensing, Nala has been fundamental in achieving countless successful results and has played a huge part in protecting the people of Northamptonshire.
Most recently, through the use of her highly trained senses, Nala was involved in the successful resolution of an incident of aggravated burglary, whereby after diligently searching the area for two hours and recovering multiple weapons and stolen items, she kept her nose to the ground and successfully located the offender, despite the nearby woodland and gardens having been cleared by officers.
According to PC Foster: “This is just one example of Nala’s greatest strengths - her phenomenal scent work, being able to swiftly and successfully track suspects, find hidden or missing persons as well as locate stolen property. She has a great temperament and this is shown by her ability to work across many teams, including routinely working alongside uniformed and plainclothes operations with her dedicated firearms support role.”
At nine years of age, after dedicating seven years of her life to fighting crime and protecting the communities of Northamptonshire, Nala will retire from service and remain with her handler for her twilight years.
At the event, Chief Constable Nick Adderley remarked on Nala’s achievements: “The unique crime fighting capabilities of our police dogs are second to none - they track and detain suspects across great distances, provide emotional support to missing people who may be at their lowest, using their heightened senses to locate cash, drugs and firearms, to name just a few. They put their life on the line every day to protect their handlers, fight crime and protect the people of Northamptonshire.
“I am pleased we were able to take the time to shine a light on the policing career of Nala who, as all of our police dogs have, have dedicated the majority of their lives to policing from the shadows, rooting out criminality and doing their part to ensure the people of Northamptonshire can live as safe and crime-free as possible.”
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold added: “Nala has done a truly tremendous job over the last seven years for the police service. Although I’m sure she will be missed by her colleagues she has very much earned this retirement.
“The main focus of Northamptonshire Police is to keep the people of this county safe, and Nala and the rest of the police dogs section do a wonderful job in fulfilling that purpose by helping to locate the people who have committed crimes in our community so that they can be brought to justice.”
After Northamptonshire Police’s decision to assign collar numbers to all of their police dogs to mark the introduction of Finn’s Law in 2019, Nala’s collar number of PD1 will retire alongside her.
Throughout her retirement, Nala will be supported by the Thin Blue Paw Foundation, a charity which supports serving and retired police dogs from across the UK, providing much needed financial support to the unsung canine heroes whose vet bills are unable to be covered by insurance due to their working life.