Ely community support officer achieves his dream after eight years

Otis the police dog and his handler have passed their exams ready for duty with East Cambs Police PH

Otis the police dog and his handler have passed their exams ready for duty with East Cambs Police PHOTO: Sgt Phil Priestley - Credit: Archant

A police community support officer who began with the East Cambs force has achieved his dream of becoming a dog handler after eight years hard work - and the added bonus of Otis the German Shepherd.

The hard graft has paid off for the pair who passed their final exams and are ready for duty with the county force.

The handler, whose modesty means he does not want to be named, started out in community support, rising through the ranks and achieving his goal of getting a place with the much coveted dog handler unit.

Sergeant Phil Priestley said: “The formidable ‘Otis’ is a general purpose police dog that can be deployed to all manner of situations from crowd control, to searching, to tracking, and to detaining suspects.

“His handler is no less formidable and stands as a great example to others as to what can be achieved through a career with the police and a substantial amount of personal determination.

“Personally I’d like to name this incredible colleague who has impressed me so much on the district – but his personal modesty forbids it.

“His achievement is outstanding and well deserved.

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“It’s great to see him have something he can get his teeth into, he’s always been good in hairy situations, but it has been rough (ruff) to see him leave the station.

“I’m sure we’ll see him back in the area. We’ll keep a bowl waiting for Otis in the rear yard.”

Otis and his handler have been awarded their licensing assessment and released for full duty.

Sgt Priestley added: “While such a piece of news is always lovely there is a much warmer story behind this.

“His expressed goal was to transition into the role of a constable, and from there gain a much coveted place on the Dog Unit.

“He served East Cambridgeshire as both a highly effective police community support officer and subsequently as a constable, all the time preparing himself to achieve his ambition.

“Last year he achieved his dream and was successful in a hugely competitive process of applying to the Dog Unit, which is now managed through the collaboration of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Constabularies (BCH).

“He has never stopped working towards it and has never taken his eyes off his objective.”