Some dogs like bones, but two of Rotorua's newest pups prefer to sink their teeth in some juicy justice.

Three new patrol dog teams and one detector dog team graduated from the New Zealand Police Dog Training Centre yesterday, and two of them are coming to Rotorua.

They will join their operational colleagues in tracking and catching offenders, including searching and finding drugs.

The teams are Constable Stuart Palmer and 2-year-old patrol dog Piri, and Senior Constable Christine Lunt and 18-month-old labrador Kode.


Although both are new to the police dog section, they are both experienced frontline police officers.

Both Palmer and Lunt have trained and graduated as recruits from the Royal New Zealand Police College and built up experience in other policing roles before choosing to become a dog handler.

Palmer has been in the police for eight years and has worked on the Police Safety Team roles in Taupō. He has fostered two police puppies.

Lunt has been in the force for 23 years and worked in investigator roles in the Criminal Investigation Branch and on organised crime investigations.

She is also not new to police dogs and has also fostered a police dog before.

She said there was no confirmed date of when they would start.

This did not happen overnight though, and both officers have had to do training in the Bay of Plenty dog section, and also courses at the Police Dog Training Centre in Trentham.

They and their dogs have been tested and assessed to graduated yesterday.


They and their new partners in crime would continue to grow as a team through regular assessments to make sure they continue to meet the high standard expected of the role.

A police spokeswoman said Palmer and Lunt were both excited to get into their new role.

Rotorua police acting area controller Inspector Brendon Keenan said police dogs were "a real asset" for Rotorua police.

Tracking and apprehending offenders, which police would not be able to do alone, was a skill the community benefited from.

National co-ordinator of police dogs Inspector Todd Southall said passing and becoming qualified in the area was a great achievement and demonstrated months of hard work and training.

"Our job at Trentham and with their trainers in the district has been to equip the handlers and dogs with the skills and knowledge they need to be a high-performing team wherever they work," Southall said.

"It's a proud moment for the four handlers to graduate as operational in what we think is the best job in police."