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The Long Awaited Harties SAPS Dog Unit Is Finally In Operation!
The long awaited Hartbeespoort SAPS dog unit finally in operation!
Six years after its initiation and careful nurturing of the project, Brig. Hannes Strydom’s dream of establishing a SAPS dog unit at Hartbeespoort finally comes to fruition. The new dog unit will come into operation today on the 1st of December 2015. The dog unit will consist of 6 dogs and their handlers and a unit commander which boils down to 6 new SAPS officers added to our Hartbeespoort SAPS station.
The idea was originally born in August 2010 when Ms Rina Grobler (Schoemansville Neighbourhood Watch chair) asked the then CPF chair, Pieter Rautenbach, in a public CPF meeting to investigate the possibility of a dog unit located at Hartbeespoort. Brig. Strydom, a well-known and beloved Hartbeespoort resident was in charge of SAPS’s veterinary service at that time. Brig. Strydom was thus the ideal person to drive this dream for Hartbeespoort. During this time Brig. Strydom was already actively involved with local community matters as a member of the CPF management committee. He was also a member of the Hartbeespoort Inhabitants Forum where he made valuable contributions. It was with Ms Grobler’s motivation that Brig Stydom discovered a report/ feasibility study done by the SAPS North West Province which looked into the establishment of a K9 unit between Brits, Hartbeespoort and Mokau. The document reported that no suitable location could be found. This would most likely have been the end right there but Brig. Strydom was adamant to convince Provincial SAP that a K9 unit could be established at Hartbeespoort and immediately tasked his inspection team to find a suitable location in Hartbeespoort. Is was also a fact that no SAPS funding was available for this project. This was just prior to Brig. Strydom’s retirement in Jan 2011. During this time various provincial SAPS offices where consulted and it was eventually agreed to establish the K9 unit at Hartbeespoort. Brig Strydom was then askes by Mr Romano v d Spuy, the new CPF Chairman, to manage this project of behalf of the CPF. The CPF and the Hartbeespoort community became excited about this initiative.
At the time a contractor, on behalf of tyhe Department of Public Works, had started erecting a perimeter fencing around the police station. Public Works indicated that the contractor would also build the new K9 kennels. However shortly before completion of the alterations at the police station, in mid 2012, Public Works had run out of funding and the K9 kennels could not be built. Brig Strydom, through the CPF Committee, requested to approach the community to fund the project. As we know the Harties community are people always eager to contribute to a good cause. Within a week it was announced at a CPF meeting that a local business man had already started with bush clearing and levelling of the site. Brig Strydom requested that the prescribed transparent procedure be followed when approaching the public for contributions towards the project. The CPF then appointed a committee to oversee public contributions to the kennels chaired by Ms Grobler. They had their first meeting in January 2013. The response from the public was extraordinary. Many individuals pledged time, resourced and funds towards the project.
The project then experienced a few stop-and-go moments which left the community a bit frustrated. On 12th March 2013 a letter was sent to the Provincial Commissioner to confirm the community’s commitment towards the project and on the 27th of March 2013, a letter from the SAPS Provincial commissioner landed on Ms Grobler’s table stating that Province had decided to recall its earlier decision and to rather establish a flying squad and a K9 unit at the Mokau cluster to reinforce security of the Gauteng border.
Earlier this year rumours began to surface that dog kennels were being built in any case. It has only been in the last week that official confirmation were received that the newly established K9 unit will come into operation on the 1st of Dec 2015. We would like to thank all the people who gave their efforts to get the dog unit approved and who finally helped to construct the kennels. This milestone event for our local community security makes the original dream of Ms. Grobler and Brig. Strydom, a practical reality.
The K9 unit will consist of:
2 x Patrol / explosive sniffing dogs:
Trained in identifying firearms, ammunitions and explosives with 1-2km tracking ability
2 x narcotic dogs:
Trained in the smelling of narcotics
1 x biological dog:
Trained in smelling of blood and semen
1 x Tracker dog:
Trained in tracking ability of 30 – 40 km’s
This K9 unit will serve the SAPS Brits Cluster.
We would like to thank SAPS for keeping their promise to the Hartbeespoort community. And we also want to welcome the new members to our police station with our sincerest appreciation!