LAST Sunday, a rookie german shepherd sniffer named Skipper helped apprehend a 60-year-old American citizen at Nadi International Airport for allegedly being in possession of 7.5kilograms of methamphetamines.
According to ASP Jone Yalimaiwai, the officer-in-charge of the Police Dog Unit in Nadi, Skipper is only 14 months old but is already making his presence felt with his handler Special Constable Ropate Pahulu.
"He is already a great asset, a fast learner for his age," ASP Yalimaiwai said.
Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said dogs form an integral part of all police operations as sniffers at the country's borders and as trackers away from our borders.
"We are always looking to expand the police K-9 unit so they can guard our maritime borders in the near future if all goes to plan," said Ms Naisoro.
Currently, police dogs are used as sniffers for drugs and explosives only at major airports.
Ms Naisoro adds the force is using training opportunities such as the recent program conducted with trainers from New Zealand Police to improve the capacity of its dog unit.
ASP Yalimaiwai said Skipper was brought over from Suva when he was eight months to begin training in Nadi.
"The Fiji police bought him from a breeder in Suva for $5000 which is the going rate for German shepherds."