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Lausanne cops pioneer bike for dog squad

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Whisk with his handler, the special electric bike, and members of the Lausanne police cycling squad. Photo: City of Lausanne
10:36 CEST+02:00
Whisk, a Labrador retriever in the canine squad of the city of Lausanne's police department, is making history.

The two-year-old dog, being trained to sniff out illegal drugs, is now being transported during patrols around town in a specially designed electric bicycle.

The city force says the method of transport is a first in Switzerland when it comes to police dogs.

The bicycle, of Dutch origin, is similar to delivery bicycles with a box, ventilated and enclosed, between the handlebars and the front wheel.

Whisk sits in the box while an officer pedals the electrically assisted bike on patrols covering areas that include metro stations, the city’s main train station and the waterfront of Lake Geneva.

The bicycle allows Whisk and his handler “to travel in an environmental way, independent and flexible” on Lausanne’s downtown streets without getting caught in traffic jams, the police department said.

The electrical assistance is handy given the steep hills in Lausanne, which sprawls across terrain rising several hundred metres above the lake.

The specially designed bicycle is particularly useful for patrolling parks where regular vehicle access is difficult.

“I had this idea while watching deliverymen pass by,” the officer who handles Whisk told 20 Minutes newspaper.

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“My colleagues from the cycling brigade told me that we were not going fast enough for (drug) checks because we were getting around in a service vehicle, so I said why not try with a bicycle?”

Whisk, who is currently still in training, has adapted well to the bicycle, and the dog should be ready for regular patrols in the summer, the officer said.

The bicycle is not intended as an emergency response vehicle and is used exclusively for patrols, First Lieutenant Samuel Corset, responsible for Lausanne’s special police units, told 20 Minutes.
    

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