A graduation ceremony with a twist went down today in the Hutt Valley on Thursday, which saw Hawke's Bay's new, four-legged police officer graduate.

Like all police dogs, Vink was bred as part of the police dog breeding programme, and has been through a six stage development and qualification process which started when he was a puppy.

The culmination of that effort was a graduation ceremony with his officer, Constable Blair Benson, who has known Vink since he was a young puppy and has looked after him since he was five months.

"Because I'm in charge of the puppies in the Bay, I'm sort of the puppy co-ordinator, so I had a fair idea that I would be possibly taking Vink from when he was fostered at eight weeks old.


"I took Vink when he was about five months old," Benson said.

"You just build a bond and make him part of your family."

The 18-month-old german shepherd graduated with his brother Vann, and eight other police dogs.

Benson said a lot of police, when they join the force, want to be dog handlers.

"I was lucky enough to do the hard work and follow through and got a position.

"I initially work five years in Gisborne as a dog handler, and then transferred back."

Vink's brother Vann is moving to Dunedin with Constable Marcus Saunders, who is a first time dog handler.

"The training both at home and at Trentham has been great," Saunders said.


"There's a lot to learn including how to read your dog, understand what that flick of the tail or head means, and the skills and techniques for both of us to do the job."

The other dogs who graduated on Thursday are Parko, Usain, Tomeke, Moon, South, Shaq, Lomu and McCaw.