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K9 Brewster – Cambridgeshire, England

Handler – PC Dave Pert

Britain’s longest serving police dog dies after 11 years in service

A “legendary” super-sniffer police dog who served Cambridgeshire police and other forces for more than a decade has died. Britain’s oldest police dog, the former drugs, cash and weapons detection Spaniel Brewster, who was aged 15, and served with the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire (BCH) Dog Unit died earlier this month following a short illness. Brewster was almost renamed ‘Ziggy’ because his eyes are two different colors – like late rock icon David Bowie. The unit’s oldest serving dog, he made national headlines when he finally hung up his lead in January last year (2016) after a successful career of busting drugs gangs. Originally from North Yorkshire, Brewster’s previous owners decided to gift him to the police after realizing he had too much energy for them. Within three weeks, the naturally inquisitive canine was fully trained and licensed as a drugs, cash and weapons detection dog. The Spaniel began active service in August 2005 and stayed on patrol with his handler, PC Dave Pert, up until his retirement. Brewster was one of the most well-known dogs from the unit, having worked across the three counties and beyond, providing mutual aid to other police forces including Norfolk and Suffolk. His specialist nose, which was trained to detect various types of drugs in vehicles, buildings and open spaces, was utilized at a number of incidents and warrants over the years, some of which made press headlines. n 2015 the hound detected items suspected to be cannabis in Chapmore End, near Ware, and Watford leading to a number of arrests. His keen sense of smell was always welcomed by officers as he successfully located items that may have otherwise been missed due to how well they had been hidden. Brewster also took part in multi-agency operations at service stations on key roads including the M1 and M25, playing his part in stopping the transport of illegal drugs and cash. Additionally, he worked at Luton Airport where he was tasked with detecting items being smuggled into and out of the country. As well as tackling crime, Brewster and his handler also helped promote the police and spread crime prevention messages, as they made appearances at schools and clubs. The pair even lent a hand in supporting a community project that aimed to combat anti-social behavior in Hitchin. During his retirement, Brewster enjoyed many holidays and trips to the seaside with Dave and his partner. PC Pert said: “We are so grateful that Brewster came into our lives. He was truly a legendary dog, renowned across the three counties for his incredible nose. Indeed, officers were still requesting his services long after he retired! “He was a brilliant asset to the unit and I am glad he had time with us to enjoy his retirement. He loved coming away with us in the caravan and he particularly enjoyed people watching – he was a very sociable dog with a great temperament. “Thankfully his illness was brief, but we will miss him terribly as he was a huge part of our lives.”

Submitted By Jim Cortina

James A. Cortina has been involved with police dogs since 1972 and currently on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association Inc. Jim has been appointed as Treasurer since its inception in 1991. Jim is one of the charter members of the C.P.W.D.A. organization. Since 1975 he has been a certified professional dog trainer and received his Master Trainer Certification in 1985. During his career he has provided armed K-9 strike crowd control for security agencies in Connecticut and out of state security companies. In conjunction with other members of the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association Inc. Board of Directors, he helped to draft Connecticut Statute 53-247(e) "Intentional Injury or Killing of Police K-9" which was passed by the Senate in 1993 and also assisted in implementing the prestigious Daniel Wasson Memorial K-9 Award in 1992. In 1993 he helped coordinate the North American Police Work Dog Association Nationals in New London, Connecticut. He was appointed Training Director for the New London County Work Dog Association from 1985-1987. He performed decoy work for Connecticut Police Work Dog Association Inc. in police K-9 demonstrations, trained several local police department canines, and coordinated training workshops for out-of-state police departments. He participated in the United States Police K-9 Association Trials in Croton on Hudson, New York in 1985 as a decoy. He is an avid photographer and received photography awards in 1989, 1990, and 1991 and currently takes photographs for the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association Inc.