Why this Swedish police dog has been hailed as a hero

A veteran Swedish police dog has been hailed as a national hero after he finally went into retirement following ten hard years on the job.

Why this Swedish police dog has been hailed as a hero
Äddie the police dog has finally retired after ten years on the job. Photo: Christer Torlen

The dog unit at Stockholm Police posted a heart-warming tribute to 12-year-old German Shepherd Äddie (pronounced Eddie) earlier this week, saying that “few have done more good for society, and his never-ending desire to work hard has helped make an often dark world somewhat brighter”.

The post has struck a chord with the general public, being liked more than 26,000 times and drawing more than 800 replies on Facebook.

Christer Torlen, who was Äddie's handler at Stockholm Police, told The Local that he is a unique dog.

“He has worked for such a long time, yet all the time has been really energetic. He done his job for more than ten years, which is really unusual. I think the majority of police dogs don’t work for more than six, yet he done a really great job the whole time,” he said.

Over the course of his ten years on the job Äddie has been a narcotics dog, weapons search dog, and most recently, a patrol dog. His independent mentality earned him a reputation among staff, as well as a nickname.

“He got the nickname ‘Äddie No’ because he does so much through his own initiative. He’s very independent and sometimes can be a bit angry,” Torlen laughed.

“But because of that he has done so many great things. There are times when I’ve almost hindered him from doing a good job,” he explained.

“We were on a narcotics job once and he jumped up onto this huge boulder then started gesturing into the air. I looked at it, saw nothing was there, and called him down. I called him down three times, he kept jumping up on his own accord,”

“Then I looked beyond it and saw there was a woodshed where the wind was blowing down from. It turned out that the drugs were inside a nook in the roof. He had done exactly the right thing, he marked the spot and was right. He’s a really great dog.”

Replacing Äddie won't be easy, but the Stockholm police will have the help of his son, Zingo, who has just been approved as a police dog.

As for Äddie: it’s time for him to finally enjoy life as a pensioner.


Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.