Canine crew given top dog honours

OUT AT Maryborough Correctional Centre they are top dogs.

The canine contingent is mean, keen and highly trained behind the razor-wire fencing and now has been confirmed as second to none within the state.

Queensland Corrective Services this week presented its top award to the Maryborough Correctional Centre dog squad.

“It’s a feather in our team’s cap,” the centre’s dog handling supervisor Barrie Gerbich said.

“I’m lucky to work with a squad of very highly driven, very professional, very dedicated people.”

Mr Gerbich is part of a tight-knit team of six men, five German shepherds and one Belgian shepherd.

“It is very involved. It’s 24/7. The dogs come home at night with their handlers. We never really get away from the job.

“We are training consistently. It’s a very intense and demanding job.”

Mr Gerbich was pleased and surprised when the winning announcement was made but not quite stunned.

“I knew the guys had worked very hard.

“But it is a coup for our credibility as dog handlers, dog trainers, as dog people.”

Mr Gerbich accepted the inaugural Roger Hayden Memorial Trophy for the dog squad that achieved the best overall score from the general purpose dog handlers annual assessment.

The award was presented by the Commissioner for Corrections, Kelvin Anderson, as part of a dog squad graduation ceremony at the QCS Academy at Wacol, Brisbane, on Thursday.

Mr Anderson said the dog handlers and dogs were among the best-trained in Australia.

“An intense 12-week general purpose course has thoroughly prepared the handlers and their dogs for their work,” he said.

“The handlers received instruction in legislation, dog obedience, dog psychology, principles of dog training and first aid.

“The dogs are trained in agility work and to search vehicles, rooms, people and mail.”

Mr Anderson said corrective services dogs made a valuable contribution to the community’s safety.

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