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Crime-fighting canine captivates Nellie Melba residents

Written by John Walker
on August 31, 2022

The phrase ‘taking your work home with you’ has a special meaning for members of the Victoria Police Dog Squad.

Leading Senior Constable Michelle Dench explained that bond when she visited Nellie Melba Retirement Village for a ‘Coffee with a Cop’ event alongside her partner in crime fighting Devil, a playful Malinois with a passion for catching crooks.

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Dog Squad - Nellie Melba-01-minLeading Senior Constable Michelle Dench, with her malinois police dog 'Devil', speaks with Nellie Melba residents.

 

Michelle, who has been in the police force for 26 years and the Dog Squad for the last 16 years, said she was drawn to the unit since first joining Victoria Police.

"I always watched the work the Dog Squad members did, and I loved it," Michelle said.

"I hated being stuck behind the computer. I love frontline policing and I’ll be here until I retire."

Tracking criminals from 5 kilometres away, running through the streets, and jumping fences is all in a day’s work for the dynamic duo, who have represented the Victoria Police Dog Squad in the Australasian Police Dog Trials across Australia and New Zealand.

Devil is Michelle’s third police dog and is named in honour of a military working dog who was killed in Afghanistan.

Dog Squad - Nellie Melba-10-minDevil gets a belly rub from residents.

 

Michelle admits the dog’s safety can cross her mind when entering a dangerous situation.

"I think you have to trust their abilities, but their wellbeing certainly does go through your mind at certain times," Michelle said.

"I've been very lucky that my dogs have always come through with the goods when it matters.

"It's probably only two or three times where I really thought, if I send my dog right now, he could get seriously hurt or killed.

"The hardest part about this job is when you lose them."

Dog Squad - Nellie Melba-02-minRyman’s Victorian Sales and Community Relations Manager, Debra Richardson, hosts the Q&A with residents.

 

The event was hosted by Ryman’s Victorian Sales and Community Relations Manager, Debra Richardson, who is a former Victorian Police officer and criminal intelligence analyst.

"The coffee with a cop concept came about when I met with Victoria Police and discussed ways for both of us to engage with our local community as well as help residents feel safe," Debra said.

"I love being able to raise the profile of Victorian police in a positive light. It’s a really difficult job and more often than not they don’t get thanked for their work.

"I have complete admiration for Michelle as a person, she must be so fit in both body and mind. She clearly has so much passion for her dogs."

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