Scarborough-based PC Vince Gillon - North Yorkshire Police’s longest serving dog handler - is currently training up two new police dogs as he prepares for his retirement in September.
The trainee sniffer dogs, Jacob and Atom, will be taking on their duties alongside officers including PC Gillon’s successor PC Martin Gayles.
PC Gayles has just completed his initial training course partnered with his German Shepherd, Thor, a general purpose police dog, trained to sniff out suspects, search property and find missing people.
PC Gillon is due to retire after 30 years’ service as a police officer including 22 years as a dog handler. He began his career as a Richmond beat officer in September 1984, before transferring to Ripon and Harrogate, then on to Scarborough.
Among the many searches for missing people, drugs and criminals, he describes one of the most memorable and poignant incidents of his career as the search for an IRA gunman in 1992 following the fatal shooting of Special Constable Glenn Goodman near Tadcaster.
He said: “That was one of the darkest days in the history of my career, especially as I knew and worked with PC Sandy Kelly who was also shot and injured.”
The recipient of two awards for bravery including disarming a man with a knife and dealing with a firearms incident in Masham, PC Gillon is now looking forward to retiring.
He added : “I’ve had a fantastic career, it’s been challenging, interesting and rewarding. Martin is just at the beginning of his career and I wish him every success for the future. I’m now looking forward to playing golf and walking my retired drugs detection dog, Cocker Spaniel, Buster.”