Toys & Training

Farewell to a canine part pioneer

Pioneering Police canine handler Graham Reeves Bracey QSM can be remembered for his professionalism, robust character, love for his household and his liking of tomato sandwiches.

Graham was born on 12 December 1930 and died peacefully on 7 July 2022.

Household and associates gathered to have fun his life at a relaxed service in Whangārei on Friday 22 July.

Graham’s ashes had been carried by son Paul Bracey, who was adopted by members of the family by means of an honour guard made up of officers and canine from the Auckland and Northland canine squads.

As his household and associates recounted tales involving Graham, the sound of barking canine echoed across the City Basin as they waited, not so patiently, in vans parked outdoors the venue.

The canine cacophony appeared becoming for a person who was Auckland’s first canine handler, along with his accomplice Duke. There have been two different handlers working within the nation – one in Wellington and the opposite in Christchurch.

Police canine had been introduced into New Zealand in 1956 and had been slowly distributed round New Zealand. Graham joined Police in 1955 and he was given Duke to coach in 1958. A 12 months later they turned operational.

He retired in 1989 and was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for public service.

Snapshots of a profession. From left: Graham with Duke; within the information; and receiving his QSM from Governor-Common Sir Paul Reeves.

Graham paved the best way in his policing patch, overlaying an space from Taupō to Kaitaia along with his canine.

He not solely educated his fellow police colleagues about the advantages of canine, however the judiciary as effectively.

Son Paul Bracey recounted a narrative his father advised him solely weeks earlier about one among his first jobs north of Kumeu.

By the point police arrived on the scene the legal was lengthy gone. Graham and Duke had been dispatched and tracked by means of farmland and located the person hiding in a shed.

Nonetheless, when the case got here to court docket the Justice of the Peace questioned how the canine might discover the person and will Police make sure the defendant was the person concerned within the incident.

Graham defined the canine’s coaching and skill to comply with a scent, and confirmed it was the proper man standing in court docket.

Duke was the one operational canine in Auckland for 4 years, in order that they had been stored busy.

“Dad had some fantastic recollections of Police and he cherished his canine,” Paul stated.

“He cherished the canine part. He helped practice the handlers and their canine and he can be grateful to see the respect you confirmed him at present.”

Graham’s buddy, retired Detective Joe Sheehan, recounted a job he attended with Graham and Duke as they looked for an escaped prisoner from Pāremoremo.

“Graham turned up with Duke and I stated ‘He’s taken off by means of the gorse’.”

The lads weren’t too eager on ploughing by means of gorse, so Duke was despatched off on his personal to search out the prisoner.

“In a couple of minutes there was howling and screaming. Graham stated ‘Proper, he’s received him. All we now have to do is go and get him’.”

Graham – and Duke – proved canine had been an asset to Police.

Area Canine Coordinator Senior Sergeant Peter Pedersen, primarily based at Ellerslie, skilled beneath Graham – a really particular man and a completely skilled Police officer, he stated.

“Graham had a really robust character and he made certain we toed the road – and if we didn’t he defined in no unsure phrases that we needed to kind our act out.

“Graham pioneered the canine part and tolerated the hardships again in these days and the form of complexities that had been concerned in transport and communications. Issues we don’t undergo a lot now.”

Peter stated initially if a canine and handler had been required for a job, they had been collected by investigating workers.

“That meant driving round within the again seat upsetting the CIB guys of their flash fits … they didn’t like canine hair and naturally canine scent after they’re moist.”

In coaching, Graham was a stickler for the canine being effectively introduced and no canine ever went on a course that wasn’t as much as scratch, Peter recalled.

He remembers coaching days with Graham that at all times integrated tomato sandwiches for lunch.

Granddaughter Robyn Bracey-Plaine learn a letter penned by Graham throughout lockdown final 12 months, describing his youthful years rising up within the Hokianga.

Graham was the youngest of three sons to Elisie and James Bracey and was raised in Waimamaku through the despair years.

His father was conscripted and went to World Struggle One as a land corporal, preventing the Germans on the frontline in France. He was within the trenches and was severely injured when he was shot within the shoulder blade.

Graham remembered his father milking 60 cows on 120-acre farm with 100 acres of bush. Milk was delivered to the Waimamaku Cheese Manufacturing unit. Horses had been used to develop the land they usually additionally ran 100 breeding ewes.

Graham recalled enjoying card video games in entrance of the fireplace in winter and driving horses to the wild west coast.

He was educated at Waitemarama Nation College within the Hokianga, earlier than turning into a scholar at Whangārei Excessive College.

In a media interview in 2017, Graham summed up his Police profession: “New Zealand Police is a superb organisation and each effort is made to maintain peace. I used to be blessed with a really fantastic and thrilling profession.”

To our pricey buddy, relaxation in peace.

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