Four Labrador Puppies Are South Australia’s Newest Police Recruits!

The pups are on a 10-week training course to become drug detector dogs.

By Justyne Yuen-Lee

Calum Robertson-AdelaideNow2

Credit: The Advertiser / Calum Robertson

Chester, Pluto, Xera, and Tank are just like regular puppies in many ways – they run around, love to catch balls, and only sometimes listen to their handlers. But on April 6th, they will begin specialized training as Passive Alert Drug Detector Dogs.  Illegal drug smugglers beware! The puppies hail from “Australian Border Force’s Detector Dog Program,” a program so elite that only the best graduate. At least two of these cuties will join the South Australian Dog Operations Unit, bumping the number of drug detector dogs to nine!


If all four dogs pass, then the SA Police will consider rotating them into their program or returning one to the Australian Border Force’s Detector Dog Program.


These dogs are highly trainable

SA Police assistant commissioner, Noel Bamford, and his team, harness the Labrador’s passion for food as reward for sniffing out illegal drugs. In this reward-based system, the puppies will learn to detect a wide range of drugs in buildings, vehicles, freight, mail, and even on people!


Passive Alert Drug Detector Dogs work at major public events, such as concerts, as well as at popular night-life areas like Hindley Street.

According to Bamford, “Drug dogs are stopping hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, worth of drugs from hitting the street.” These puppies will play an important role in stopping crime!

Calum Robertson-AdelaideNow

Credit: The Advertiser / Calum Robertson

That’s why the State Government has given a grant of $500 000 to put Xera and Tank into the training program. This will give police a couple extra sets of noses to detect drugs in the community.


For now, the puppies are still enjoying their puppyhood, but soon they will be working hard sniffing out drugs for treats!