14 December 2023

Corrections Dog Handler Tom Parima and Detector Dog Sammy work together at Mt Eden Corrections Facility to enhance security, deter threats, and maintain a safe and secure prison environment.

What does service to the community mean to you?

Working as a Dog Handler at the Department of Corrections means dedicating myself to the protection and betterment of society. It involves a commitment to public safety, rehabilitation, trust-building, justice, and education. Through these efforts, I can make a positive and lasting impact on the community I serve.

How does your work make a difference?

These specially trained dogs excel at finding contraband, helping us detect and disrupt the supply or use of illicit/unauthorised items in prisons. Our mahi makes a real difference in our prisons by enhancing security, deterring threats, and maintaining a safe and secure environment. We collaborate with other Corrections staff as well as other agencies, all while upholding the highest standards of legality and ethics in our security measures.

What achievements are you most proud of?

Dog Handlers are highly specialised roles within the prison environment, so a lot goes into ensuring preparing prospective candidates. After dedicating a year to shadowing an experienced Handler and training during the pandemic, followed by a challenging 9-week training programme away from home, I finally realised my dream of becoming a Corrections Dog Handler. I celebrated this milestone with my loved ones and supportive friends – a truly heart-warming and memorable moment. 

What’s your favourite part of the job?

One of the most cherished aspects of my mahi as a Dog Handler at the Department of Corrections is the privilege of having a furry friend by my side every day. There's something truly special about the unwavering loyalty, enthusiasm, and trust that Detector Dog Sammy brings to our mahi together. I’m very aware of how lucky I am to experience the companionship and unwavering support of Sammy each day. This connection not only enriches my professional life but also brings a sense of fulfilment and happiness that extends far beyond the workplace. Sammy serves as a constant reminder of the unique and rewarding nature of my role as a Dog Handler.

There's something truly special about the unwavering loyalty, enthusiasm, and trust that Detector Dog Sammy brings to our mahi together.

What are 3 words you would use to describe your work?

Vigilant: My role requires constant attention to detail and a keen sense of awareness to detect and deter illicit contraband and maintain security.

Purposeful: My mahi serves a critical purpose in maintaining the safety and order of prisons and communities, contributing to the broader goal of rehabilitation and public protection.

Team-centric: Collaboration and coordination with Detector Dog Sammy and fellow Corrections staff are essential, making my mahi highly team-oriented as we collectively strive for a secure and controlled environment.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the Public Service?

Starting a career in the Public Service involves embracing core values, continuous learning, ethical conduct, and a commitment to building relationships while staying adaptable and resilient. It's about making a positive impact, valuing diversity, seeking mentorship, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance to serve the community effectively.