Jet, the oldest member of the state dog squad, would retire from active service next month. Post-retirement, he would be entitled to “pension” for his unblemished service for over a decade.
The members of the state dog squad, which functions under the criminal investigation department of police, are all praise for this 12-year-old Labrador. He helped police teams in apprehending the real culprits, coming in rescue of innocents framed on false charges.
Jet, a tracker, was introduced in the state police force in 2003 after nine-month training at the National Training Centre for Dogs at Tekanpur in Madhya Pradesh, run by the Border Security Force. His handler, constable Khadag Bahadur Tamang, fondly recalled their first meeting in early 2003 at the training centre when Jet was about six months old. “We both were young then and ready to start our career in the police force,” he told The Telegraph.
Tamang still remembers the first mischievous look of Jet before bouncing away. It prompted an instant connection, but he knew Jet was aggressive and needed to be handled with a lot of love. “We soon got acquainted with each other and became friends,” Tamang said.
Om Prakash, a sub-inspector holding the charge of the dog squad in Patna, said: “We have stopped sending Jet outside the city because of his age. He has literally been declared ‘unfit’ for the job now. But we are proud of this Labrador, who bagged several medals at the national-level competitions (read All India Police Duty Meet) and helped the police nab perpetrators of crimes.” Handler Tamang said he was rewarded by then Nalanda superintendent of police Nishant Kumar Tiwary for helping the police team in ascertaining the identity of a headless body, a part of which was found about 8km away from the spot. He had helped a police team of Digha in Patna recover a victim’s body dumped in the riverside.
Jet has been credited with helping the police teams solve scores of theft, robbery, murder and kidnapping cases in Nalanda, Bhojpur, Patna and other neighbouring districts. “He is the best among the tracker canines we have in the squad,” Om Prakash told The Telegraph. He said it would be difficult for the other members of the dog squad to take Jet’s position. “Manav and Deka are the two other trackers in the squad, but replacing Jet would certainly be difficult,” he said, adding that the department has decided to keep all the dogs in the squad till they breathed their last.
There is a provision for the cremation of the dogs after their death. “The post-mortem is conducted at the state veterinary college and hospital near Bihar Military Police headquarters. Thereafter, they are cremated with full honours and rituals,” a member of the dog squad said.
Earlier, the dogs declared unfit were either shot dead or poisoned. The government later changed the policy because killing the canines was inhumane. “Now the practice is to keep them in the squad till their death,” Om Prakash said.
Recently, 15 trained canines were purchased from army centre at Meerut, taking the total number dogs in the squad to 25. Of the 15 newly inducted dogs, eight are trackers, five sniffers and two mines detectors. While 15 dogs have been deployed in Patna, two each have been kept in Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Bhagalpur and Gaya and one each in Purnea and Rohtas. The dog squad lost a member Hundy, who had lost her eyesight ever since she became a part of the state police force.