Specialist sniffing troops train at Rinkelinmäki again ‒ Police Dog Training Centre returns to Hämeenlinna 

Publication date 11.10.2022 9.30 | Published in English on 11.10.2022 at 10.34
News item

Police dogs’ barking and training commands ring out again at Rinkelinmäki “Dog Hill” training facilities in Hämeenlinna, now that the Police Dog Training Centre has returned to its renovated base.

Police dog training began at Rinkelinmäki in 1927, and the Police Dog Training Centre has operated in the same facilities ever since. However, in autumn 2020, the Centre moved to temporary facilities in Janakkala as the old facilities underwent a complete renovation and new premises were built. Now, the Police Dog Training Centre has returned to Hämeenlinna.

“Our new facilities at the “Dog Hill” are modern and tailor-made for us. Some of our operations are housed in the renovated log buildings that are almost a hundred years old, but we also have an all new kennel and fantastic modern facilities for training and exercises,” says Pekka Kokkonen, Superintendent, Head of the Police Dog Training Centre.

“On these premises, we train every police dog handler in Finland, and they, in turn, train the police dogs. In addition, the Police Dog Training Centre is responsible for procuring police dogs. This means that the Police Dog Training Centre owns all police dogs in Finland.

The Police Dog Training Centre is part of the Police University College.

Great support to everyday police work

There are approximately 250 police dogs in Finland. Some of these are multi-task patrol dogs, trained in obedience, use of force, tracking, crime scene search and searching for people and objects. Additionally, each dog gets a special training subject, such as searching for narcotics or explosives. Some police dogs are specialist dogs that are only used in their area of specialization, such as searching for explosives or narcotics, or aiding in fire investigations.

“Police dogs provide great support to everyday police work. They play a key role in both tasks that require use of force, and special tasks that require use of their sniffing skills. Police dogs know how to search for narcotics, explosives, flammable liquids and missing persons, among others. We train specialist dogs to search for banknotes hidden in buildings and in the terrain, to assist for example in the investigation of organized crime and the grey economy,” says Pekka Kokkonen.

“The most recent specialization for dogs is searching for semen, useful in the investigation of sexual and violent offences. These dogs can detect traces of semen that the police would be unable to find by any other means under field conditions. Next, we will test whether searching for electronic devices could become a new specialization for police dogs: we train the dogs to search for hidden phones, hard discs, memory cards and flash drives.

The opening of the new facilities of the Police Dog Training Centre was celebrated on the 11th of October 2022. Minister of the Interior Krista Mikkonen, among others, spoke at the celebration.

“A police dog is a co-worker that technology cannot replace. The Ministry of the Interior wants to contribute to ensuring that police dog operations receive the resources they deserve to continue their high-quality work and to ensure that police dog operations are valued and their significance for policing is understood,” says Minister of the Interior Mikkonen.