Locky, a three year old male German Shepherd has become the most effective four-legged officer in Rincón de la Victoria’s local police force. In just a year and a half that the canine unit (UCAN) has been in service, Locky has already been involved in reporting more than 400 offences for consumption of narcotic substances on the town’s streets.
Locky’s sense of smell allows him to detect all kinds of drugs carried by residents or tourists, from hashish, marijuana, cocaine, MDA or designer drugs. "I have always liked dogs, with my father I have participated for many years in dog shows and contests, especially with Boxers," said David Bravo, 42, who is Locky’s handler and owner.
After two decades as a police officer in his home town, Bravo decided in 2020 to set up the canine unit, acquiring the dog from a breeder in Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz. "The training is always positive, for him it's like a game, when he identifies a smell he gets his reward," explained the policeman. The dog is already well-known for his skills among groups of young people who go out drinking and using drugs in public spaces.
In fact, since the unit was set up in October 2020, it has practically put an end to the problems of antisocial behaviours related to drinking and drugs that used to happen in places such as Plaza del Señorío. "A few weeks ago I was unable to take him out because of a problem we had with the patrol car, and rumours began to spread that the dog had been poisoned," Bravo admitted.
However, he says, young people who are detected by the dog as carrying a dose of drugs usually react well. "If they are minors, we are not allowed to search them, so imagine what progress we have made with Locky," said the police officer, who did his training as a dog handler at the University of Cadiz. "Once the substance is detected, the child is asked to hand it over, a report is drawn up, immediately notifying the parents," he said.
In most of the interventions in which Locky has taken part, the identified youngsters have ended up playing with the animal and petting him. "The German shepherd is one of the best breeds as a working dog," said Bravo.
Locky will be able to work alongside Bravo until his between eight and 10 years old. "At the moment it's completely voluntary, I don't charge," he explained, adding that the town hall does cover the animal's veterinary expenses, and the pet food company Purina donates Locky’s food. "We are looking into the possibility of adding a second dog to the unit," Bravo concluded.