General purpose and detection dogs who served with the Dog Unit will receive medals engraved with dates of their service during ceremonies to be held on a regular basis.
Dog handler Pc Paul Nicholls came up with the idea after installing a plaque dedicated to the memory and faithful service of police dogs in the Chief Constable s garden at Essex Police headquarters last year.
Since then he s been working with Dog Unit Inspector Brad Dickel, Essex Police Federation and the Essex Retired Police Dogs Fund to bring the idea to life.
Pc Nicholls has worked with a total of eight police dogs throughout his career including his current general purpose German Shepherd Fidget and drug and blood detection spaniel Ludo.
He said: “Our police dogs work incredibly hard and support their police officer colleagues throughout the career. Therefore it seems only right that their loyal, brave and unfaltering service be recognised.
“It s important too that we don t forget those dogs who have died during service so we ll be presenting medals in their memory to the handlers they partnered.
The medals have been funded by Essex Police Federation and will be presented in a wooden box etched with the name of the dog.
The first ceremony will be held at Essex Police Headquarters in Chelmsford in June.
Dog Unit Inspector Brad Dickel said: “Police dogs deploy with handlers 24 hours a day every day throughout Essex in the on-going fight against crime. The support provided by these outstanding animals across a wide range of specialisms ensures the safety of the public remains an absolute priority. It is only right that every retiring police dog receives recognition for their unfaltering bravery and dedication.
Linda Belgrove, Chair of Essex Retired Police Dogs Fund said: “We are delighted to have been involved in bringing this initiative to fruition and we will continue to give it our full support.
“The medals are a fitting tribute and a symbol of the recognition that is due to these exceptional dogs who have loyally served the people of Essex.