IT’S a doggone disgrace.
Tamworth’s long-running push for a full-time police dog to tackle the rising tide of crime has been stalled amid suggestions NSW Police are set to implement yet another trial.
The original one-month trial, from mid-September, yielded a number of searches and assisted in a host of arrests.
Oxley LAC commander Clint Pheeney was effusive in his praise of “Gordon”, declaring “the dog has proven its worth”.
Other senior police have privately told The Leader a full-time drug dog would be an invaluable crime fighting tool for Tamworth.
Yet three months out from an election, Superintendent Pheeney claims the state government is poised to announce a three-month trial.
If this is a gambit to take the issue off the political agenda then it’s hopelessly misguided and a classic case of the tail wagging the dog.
This community, more than 5000 members of which signed a petition to secure a drug dog, will let its opinion be known at the ballot box if an announcement isn’t forthcoming by March 28.
The issue may well be a litmus test for how much party room sway Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson really has.
And if there is a valid reason for another trial then NSW Police are doing a rotten job of selling it.
The NSW Dog Unit hierarchy has been quiet as a trappist monk on the issue, refusing multiple requests for comment by The Leader.
Yet the facts stand out like dogs’ proverbials.
The trial was a success, the community desperately wants a dog and local police say it will put a substantial dent in the crime rate.
What more can another trial achieve, except act as a cynical political ploy to buy time?
If a dog is not secured, then the government is essentially sending a message to voters that our tax dollars and our safety aren’t worth as much as those in major cities.
And three months out from a knife-edge election in Tamworth, it could be the government that ends up in the doghouse.
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