Friday, 5 February 2021 - 3:17pm

Dog squad star puts her paws up for retirement

1 min read

News article photos (5 items)

Dakota has been in operational service for five years.
Dakota's 2021 Police Dog calendar pose
Dakota being winched from a helicopter
Dakota is enjoying a happy retirement with her former handler Stu Rota and family in Tairawhiti.

Happy retirement to Dakota – one of Wellington Police’s favourite floofs.

The near 8-year-old German Shepherd patrol dog took off her operational vest for good last week after working her final shift. She’s tracked and made untold catches and backed her human partners in numerous armed incidents across nearly six years of operational service.

Now it’s a happy reunion with former handler Stu Rota and family in Tairawhiti, where Stu is working as a sergeant.

Dakota was born at the Police Dog Training Centre, Trentham, in 2013 and graduated as an operational dog in April 2015, initially with another handler before she was assigned to Stu.

They saw plenty of action together until January 2020, when Stu transferred to take up another policing opportunity on the East Coast. Dakota stayed in Wellington where she's spent the past 12 months working with Senior Constable Sam Bennett.  

Dakota’s friendly face is familiar to many beyond the capital city. She’s famous for featuring in stunning photos by Senior Constable Jane Dunn, a police forensic photographer in Wellington, and has also featured with Stu in four TV series of Dog Squad.

While many dogs usually keep their paws on the ground, Dakota’s operational life has included being winched from helicopters on specialist police operations, wowing the crowds at Wings over Wairarapa, skimming across the water in boats, finishing seventh in the 2018 Police Dog National Championships, and enjoying many a pat from fans at public events.
“Dakota’s been an awesome partner and it’s great she’s back home for her retirement," says Stu.
Thanks for your awesome service Dakota. Enjoy your retirement.